Thanks to a new tool rolled out March 27 you can now contact Congress through Facebook.
The tool, called Town Hall, makes it especially easy for the roughly 213.7 million Americans who regularly use Facebook to reach out directly to members of congress and, even, if you want, the president. And, yes, nearly all elected federal officials – member of the U.S. House of Representatives and the U.S. Senate – have Facebook pages.
The new feature comes at a particularly timely point as Congress raises public ire over its move to allow the major telcoms to sell your personal internet use data.
The new Facebook Town Hall tool also allows users to contact members of state legislatures and, in some major U.S. cities, municipal elected officials.
But don’t confuse this new feature with a Facebook Page for TownHall.com, which is an outlet for extremist points of view.
Facebook created a feature last fall to help voters make their way through the presidential election campaign. That feature has, of course, disappeared.
Procedures for contacting members of congress electronically or digitally have been around for nearly as long as the internet. USA.gov maintains a very comprehensive list, as does Common Cause, the Sunlight Foundation and many other organizations and agencies.
But the new Facebook tool makes contacting elected officials as easy a a couple of clicks. And it’s Facebook. Again: approximately 213.7 million Americans.
“Building a civically-engaged community means building new tools to help people engage in a thoughtful and informed way,” said Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg in his own post about the new tool. “The starting point is knowing who represents you and how you can make your voice heard on the decisions that affect your life.
“The more you engage with the political process, the more you can ensure it reflects your values. This is an important part of feeling connected to your community and your democracy, and it’s something we’re increasingly focused on at Facebook.”
The Town Hall tool works like this:
- Search for the Town Hall tab on your Facebook app (may not have reached your phone, yet; be patient, keep checking) or on desktop/laptop go here.
- Once found, enter your address (unless, of course, you’re paranoid about Facebook knowing your street address but, to be honest, it probably knows already).
- Once street address is entered up will pop a list of your state and congressional representatives.
- You can choose to follow their Facebook pages and/or contact them directly.
- With the Town Hall tool you can call, email, message your electeds through Messenger.
Twitter now helps you avoid TV “spoiler” tweets
Avoid those annoying spoiler tweets on your favorite (but not yet watched) television shows and movies with a new feature.
With the new feature you can mute words, phrases, emojis and hashtags that may tip you off to, say, Khaleesi’s return to Westeros.
“Muting will remove these Tweets from your Notifications tab, push notifications, SMS, email notifications, Home timeline, and from replies to Tweets,” explains Twitter Support, adding a word of caution. “Muting words and hashtags only applies to your notifications and Home timeline. You will still see these Tweets via search. Notifications for muted words and hashtags are applied to replies and mentions, including all interactions on those replies and mentions: likes, Retweets, additional replies, and Quote Tweets.”
You can mute words, phrases, and hashtags for a set time period in your timeline and notifications.
— Twitter Safety (@TwitterSafety) March 27, 2017
Wonder if the “spoiler alert” feature will help Congress avoid horrible mistakes?