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Facebook adds an easy way to find your local government officials

Assuming they’re on Facebook, that is.
Andrew Dalton, @dolftown
March 15, 2017
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In part of his 5,700-word manifesto last month, Mark Zuckerberg hinted at plans to make Facebook a more informed and civically engaged social network. Now, some of those ideas are getting a concrete solution with a new feature called Town Hall, which is rolling out to Facebook users in the US today. Found in the "Apps" tab on mobile or the "Explore" section of the sidebar on the web, Town Hall lets users easily track down their representatives in local, state and federal government.

The feature is pretty straightforward: enter your address and Facebook will return with a list of government officials sorted by jurisdiction, from your local city council representatives and state assemblymembers all the way up to VP Mike Pence and President Trump. From there you can quickly click through to follow them on Facebook or contact them directly. However, whether or not you can call, email or message your rep will depend on what information their office has shared with Facebook. So, while the service could be useful at your next postcard-writing party, it's not exactly a perfect directory and some representatives could just as easily opt-out, forcing you to find their contact information the old fashioned way -- by googling it.

For those officials who are more active on social media -- say your Cory Bookers and your Elizabeth Warrens -- it does provide a simple way to connect and keep those updates coming into your news feed.

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