Facebook’s Town Hall feature will let users follow, locate, and communicate with their federal, state and local government officials.
For now, the feature is available to United States residents on both desktop and mobile. Town Hall is also integrated into the News Feed giving direct access to its users should they need to connect with government officials.
Town Hall, defined as a nonpartisan civic engagement tool, lists down local elected officials, as well as those on a state and federal level. The tool also advises constituents on how they can get in touch with politicians.
The update comes as no surprise if one goes back to Mark Zuckerberg’s 5,700-word manifesto, stating that Facebook will be focusing more on social community infrastructure that prioritizes the safety, support, and communication with Facebook users.
Users may soon notice that the tool comes with an election alert service as well, informing them of local, state, and national elections, and serves as reminders to urge people to vote.
One may see this move as strategic- Facebook’s damage control to fight off negative press. Since 2016, Facebook has been stuck in a maelstrom of criticism from both businesses and personal users on how they have been moderating fake news.
Zuckerberg’s manifesto places large emphasis on civic engagement and a global connection
The recent US Presidential election caused a ripple for the social network giant coupled with the outbreak of fake news. The move to develop and release Town Hall seems almost like a counter move for alleged mishaps of the past with Facebook making it a priority to push civic engagement in the right direction.
To avoid a repeat of the overflow of fake news, Facebook wants to lessen the outflow of political posts from Town Hall by only showing call-to-action prompts to users who have previously engaged with a politician’s page. Otherwise, users can go directly to the Page and contact their government officials.
Town Hall can serve as a starting point for people to start participating in the bigger conversations that end up changing the course of history.