In its bid to allow elected representatives in the US to better connect to their constituencies and gain valuable insights, Facebook has announced three new features — constituent badges, constituent insights and district targeting. According to a report in TechCrunch on Thursday, district targeting gives officials the means of gathering feedback through Facebook directly, using either posts or polls that are targeted only towards those who live in their particular district. These tools are an expansion on the social media platform’s existing Town Hall feature. “The effort is part of a broader effort to help make Facebook a tool for improving civic discourse, as per CEO Mark Zuckerberg’s revised manifesto released in February,” the report noted.
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Constituent badges are a new opt-in feature that allow users to identify themselves based on the address they provide as a person living in the district the elected official represents. Facebook says it will cut down on people pretending to be in a district they don’t belong in by limiting the number of times you can change your address in Town Hall, as well wiping constituent badges from past posts if you change your address. Another new tool called “Page Insights” will help elected officials learn which local news stories and content is popular in their district so they can share their thoughts on those matters. The tools will allow for politicians to meaningfully engage with their constituents and the issues they care about, the report noted.