Looking to become more politically active, but finding it difficult to hunt down your local officials' contact information online? A new Facebook feature is making it easier than ever to voice your views and affect political change. By learning how to use the Facebook "Town Hall" feature to call your representatives, the entire process of contacting your reps will boil down to just a few taps of the screen.
The new feature, which rolled out to U.S. users this week, appears to be part of a global plan that Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg laid out in a post published to the social networking site on Feb. 16. The Town Hall feature builds on Zuckerberg's goal of "developing the social infrastructure for community — for supporting us, for keeping us safe, for informing us, for civic engagement, and for inclusion of all." Amidst the turmoil of the first months of the Trump presidency many users flocked to Facebook posting pleas to call elected officials, and now you'll be able to do just that, by connecting directly with your district's government representatives through the social site.
While this feature will undoubtedly help encourage civic engagement by making it easier for users to address issues directly, it does have its limits. As The Verge points out, the new feature only gives its users the contact information that the representatives have shared and updated with the social site. Those politicians not on Facebook may be left out of the lists altogether, so those politically motivated constituents will still have to do a little leg work to track everyone down. Luckily, all the contact info is available on the politicians' official sites. With Town Hall users will have the ability to connect with their reps' Facebook page, and call, email, or message them depending on the information available.
Check out this step-by-step guide to learn how to connect with your local, state, and federal reps on Facebook and start putting the pressure on them today.
1. Update Your Facebook App
To be sure that you are using the latest version of the mobile app, head on over to the Google Play Store or App Store. Tap to view your available updates, and check that you are running version 83.0.
2. Select The New "Town Hall" Option
Once you have updated and opened your Facebook mobile app, tap the menu icon (the three horizontal lines) in the lower right-hand corner of your screen. If you are accessing the feature on a computer, click the "Explore" menu option, and scroll down to "See More" to locate the Town Hall feature. The Town Hall icon will be located between the recently added Jobs and Instant Games features.
3. Enter Your Address
When you initially open the Town Hall feature, Facebook will prompt you to enter your address. While they note that it will not be displayed or shared, they do not mention whether or not it is saved, so bear that in mind if you're big on privacy. If you choose to "skip" this step, the feature will use whatever information is already on your profile. If you only have your state listed, it will bring up statewide and federal representatives. If you do add your home address, Facebook will connect you with a surprisingly accurate list of local reps, such as council members, your mayor, comptroller, and Borough president.
4. Select Contact And Give Them A Call Directly From The App!
Next to each politician listed, you will have the option to "Follow" or "Contact." Tapping the "Contact" button of the representative you wish to call will bring up the options to "call," "message," or "visit page." Once you select "call," their office number will appear on your screen and you can phone your desired rep without leaving the app.
It's the perfect marriage of social media protest and direct social action — and it's never been easier to make your voice heard.