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Digital Town Halls

With social media playing a mega-sized role in the 2016 elections, it’s a seemingly hand-in-glove fit for Facebook to officially begin playing politics.

Yesterday, Facebook unveiled its new “Town Hall” feature, and this should be good news for concerned citizens and drunken trolls alike. By entering your address [adjusts tinfoil hat] on your Facebook settings and opting-in to Town Hall, you are provided with a list of your local and national representatives and their contact information. Within the feature itself, you can send a Facebook message, email—or if you’re so inclined—place a call to your rep’s office.

It’s a unique way for elected officials to connect with their constituencies in a political landscape where digital engagement is as important as face-to-face interaction. Not to mention if you’ve been monitoring the attendance of traditional town hall events lately, members of Congress appear to have their hands full.

But there’s a catch, of course.

Your representatives must also opt-in to Facebook’s Town Hall, and can choose which contact information—including direct messages—that they would prefer listed.

So before you make post-dinner plans to give your congressman a piece of your mind, make sure they have the Facebook messenger link engaged on their profile.

With campaigns for 2018 elections (…already) looming, Facebook is making a concerted effort to overhaul its interface to promote more political activity. This includes another first: sending geographic reminders for elections.

Facebook has avoided going overtly political for some time, but appears that time has come to an end.

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