Facebook’s new “Town Hall” feature helps you find and contact your government reps

In Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg’s nearly 6,000-word manifesto published last month, he laid out a number of global ambitions he had for the social network in the days ahead – including one where its users became more “civically-engaged” and voted more often. Now, it seems Facebook has taken its first steps toward making that possible, through a new feature it’s calling “Town Hall.”

This latest addition has just popped up on the “More” menu in Facebook’s mobile app, and offers a simple way for users to find and connect with their government representatives on a local, state and federal level.


To use Town Hall, you only have to enter in your address – which Facebook says is not displayed or shared (though it doesn’t say it’s not “saved,” so be advised).

This will information will help to populate the following screen with a list of your representatives, all of whom you can follow with just a click of a button. The list includes not just those representing you in the U.S. House and Senate, but also your state legislature and your governor, local council members and your mayor, as well as those in other federal positions, like VP Mike Pence and President Trump.

The list you’ll see will be based on your location, which means you might not have local reps appear – for example, if you live in a smaller town where local officials don’t maintain a Facebook presence.

In addition to being able to follow their Facebook Pages in order to receive their updates in your News Feed, each representative also has a “Contact” button next to their name.

When tapped, you have the option to “Message” them, “Email” them, or visit their Facebook Page. Of course, not all representatives are as available as others. In many cases, there may be no means of contact beyond visiting a Facebook Page.

On their Page, you may be able to dig around to find a phone number or mailing address, if it happens to be published. However, this is definitely not as handy as some of the independent websites that provide this information to you with just a few clicks, including the newer resistance-focused services like Call to Action or 5 Calls, for instance, or even other mobile apps, like Countable.

It would be great to see Facebook enhance its Town Hall resource with the full contact details for all officials going forward, especially given that this is public information and fairly easy to find even on official government websites.

Beyond following your reps and getting in touch, the Town Hall feature applies a bit of peer pressure to get you involved by noting how many of your friends have connected with a government rep via Facebook. This isn’t all that useful beyond the potential psychological impact it has on users, by making them not want to be left out.


At the bottom of the page, you can also toggle voting reminders off or on, so you’ll be alerted when there’s an upcoming election in your area.

Town Hall is hardly Facebook’s first foray into politics. The social network has regularly prompted users to register and to vote through a number of means, including push notifications, banners in its News Feed, Messenger integrations, maps to polls, social sharing features (like “I voted”), and more – including, in this past Presidential Election, an “Election 2016” shortcut in users’ Favorites section on both web and mobile. It also published a voter guide, which included down-ballot propositions and local races.

We’ve asked Facebook for more details as to the status of the Town Hall feature’s rollout, and will update if the company responds.

The feature’s arrival follows several other recent additions to Facebook’s sidebar in recent months, including its new City Guides, Wi-Fi Finder, Discover People section, and Weather guide.

Facebook signs celebrities to boost live video

Actor Kevin Hart, pictured on March 25, 2015, is among the celebrities who have signed to provide content for Facebook's new livfacebook stated Tuesday it has signed a series of deals to pay celebrities and media companies to produce content for its new live video streaming provider.

The test software calls for “a exceptionally small number partners that includes a wide variety of content types from areas round the world” receiving “transient economic assist to inspire experimentation with this new format,” fb stated in a assertion.
The Wall road magazine stated earlier that the social community had signed as a minimum 140 contracts really worth a complete of greater than $50 million as a part of the attempt.
The report said fb was partnering with media corporations such as the big apple instances, CNN, BuzzFeed and Huffington put up and with personalities inclusive of actor Kevin Hart, movie star chef Gordon Ramsay and NFL quarterback Russell Wilson.
fb did no longer offer specifics, however a statement from Justin Osofsky, vp of global operations and media partnerships, said the companions “have been selected primarily based on a ramification of various factors,” which includes their ability to supply live content material.
This consists of “public parent partners who had already established an early interest in going live” and others “who could have relevant use-cases for live, which includes breaking news,” Osofsky said.
The magazine said 17 of the contracts had been well worth as a minimum $1 million and had been a part of an effort to promote facebook live, the new service that lets in all and sundry to move live content material.
It stated facebook has no longer yet decided how to monetize the brand new video provider but desires to expand a constant flow of content to draw in extra visitors.
BuzzFeed, which drew tens of millions to stay video of an test to explode a watermelon earlier this 12 months, is slated to obtain $3.05 million and the big apple times $3.05 million, consistent with contracts visible by the Wall street magazine.

Google, Facebook, Twitter Sued by Family of Isis Victim

Google, Facebook, Twitter Sued by Family of Isis VictimThe circle of relatives of an American pupil killed through the Islamic state at some stage in a November 2015 attack in Paris is suing Twitter, facebook and Google for providing “material assist” to the terrorist group.

Nohemi Gonzalez, 23, changed into the best American victim among one hundred thirty killed in coordinated attacks at a Parisian football stadium and concert venue.

In a grievance filed this week inside the US District court docket of Northern California, her father, Reynaldo Gonzalez, argues the three platforms “have knowingly authorized the terrorist group Isis to use their social networks as a tool for spreading extremist propaganda, elevating finances and attracting new recruits.”

The Islamic nation, also called Isis, has energetic presences on each fb and Twitter, even though the platforms have cracked down within the past and deactivated accounts affiliated with terrorist businesses.

Google is known as within the in shape, filed this week, because the proprietor of YouTube, which the Islamic nation has used to publish propaganda which includes movies of executions.

“Google, Twitter and facebook provide infrastructure and fabric support for Isis to behavior terrorist interest,” said Keith Altman, lawyer for the own family. “those groups are not doing an amazing sufficient task from maintaining the terrorists from the usage of their network.”

In some cases, the grievance says, the social networks location advertisements subsequent to Islamic kingdom content and proportion revenue with the terrorist organization generated from those advertisements.

The systems, though, can be protected from the in shape under provisions of the 1996 Communications Decency Act, which does no longer hold web sites responsible for content material customers put up.

“[Social networks] can censor extra or much less anything they want and it additionally have exquisite abilities to leave up as an awful lot as they desires to go away up,” said Ryan Calo, professor of regulation at the university of Washington and co-director of the faculty’s Tech coverage Lab.

In a declaration on its website, fb stated there has been “no place for terrorists or content material that promotes or helps terrorism,” but also stated the suit was “with out merit” and pledged to defend itself “vigorously.”

Twitter also stated the match become “without merit.”

“Violent threats and the promoting of terrorism deserve no place on Twitter and, like different social networks, our guidelines make that clean,” a spokesman said.

Google declined to touch upon pending litigation and defended its “strong track record of taking swift movement towards terrorist content material.”

however Altman said the networks do a ways too little to police their customers. while a website deactivates one account, another pops returned up to take its area with out a good deal oversight.

“it’s like whack-a-mole,” he stated. “I do not think ISIS should preserve their operation with out those social networks.”

Facebook, Other Sites Oppose Lawsuit Targeting Modeling Website

Facebook, Other Sites Oppose Lawsuit Targeting Modeling WebsiteShe was a 22-12 months vintage aspiring model from Brooklyn. looking for a manner to crack into the industry, she grew to become to ModelMayhem.com, a website that connects freelance fashions to casting agents, photographers and others inside the enterprise. She flew all the way down to Miami to fulfill the agent she had met on-line and, upon her arrival, he drugged and raped her. Her brutal assault turned into filmed and posted on the porn internet site Miami’s Nastiest Nymphos. She awoke bruised and disoriented in a hotel room with no expertise of the way she were given there.

The bad tale became no longer an remoted incident. preceding cases confirmed that around a hundred ladies had been drugged, assaulted and filmed by way of the 2 rapists at the back of Miami’s Nastiest Nymphos. The men had been arrested and sentenced to 12 consecutive existence phrases.

Now, the lady diagnosed simplest as Jane Doe No. 14 in her lawsuit is seeking to sue ModelMayhem.com for failure to warn customers of ability rapists on their internet site. A court docket ruling remaining week granted her the right to move forward with the trial, a decision which brings up questions of whether or not web sites may be held legally accountable for sexual assaults that happen to their users inside the offline international.

websites like ModelMayhem.com are commonly shielded from cases like this through the Communications Decency Act (CDA), a law that protects web sites from legal responsibility for its customers. The concept is that these web sites are structures simplest: to sue a internet site like Craigslist for an assault that happened due to a actual-global assembly is like suing a cellphone book publisher if an assailant used the phone book to appearance up a person’s vicinity. The CDA has included websites and apps like fb, Craigslist, Uber, Airbnb and OkCupid from felony repercussions, while, in the case of some of those offerings, reviews of attacks have persisted to crop up.

whilst Jane Doe first appealed the case final yr, it appeared not likely that the choose would allow her to retain with the lawsuit because of the CDA, and more particularly, phase 230 of the regulation, which frees websites from such legal responsibility. large call websites eBay, fb and Tumblr entreated the courtroom not to permit Jane Doe’s lawsuit to go through on account for the chilling impact it would have on different internet agencies.

fb declined to comment for this story however pointed a reporter to numerous passages in its legal brief.

The agency and different websites “have a significant interest in the criminal regulations governing whether companies of interactive computer services can be subjected to complaints for alleged harms due to on-line exchanges of data,” the brief said. “The fulfillment of those on line groups-and the power of on-line media and on line unfastened speech usually-depends on their being shielded from the risks, burdens, and uncertainty of lawsuits that could maintain them answerable for web hosting or facilitating on line exchanges of 1/3-birthday party information that may result in damage.”

The short also stated that facebook and other websites condemn “the violent acts perpetrated towards [the victim] and applaud the crook justice system for putting the perpetrators in the back of bars.” but, the filing said, “the contemptibility of these acts does now not justify an end-run round section 230.”

but the courtroom stated that segment 230 does not permit websites to be freed from all obligation. “Congress has not furnished an all purpose get-out-of-prison-loose card for groups that post consumer content on the internet, although any claims would possibly have a marginal chilling effect on internet publishing corporations,” the court stated in its choice.

A critical piece to this situation is that the 2 men behind the rape operation had been arrested and charged in 2010, however launched because of inadequate evidence. The pair went lower back to ModelMayhem.com to retain their scheme after their first arrest. due to this preceding arrest, Jane Doe may be able to sue primarily based at the “failure to warn” idea: that the website have to have by hook or by crook notified its customers approximately the criminal criticism.

The truth that the internet site knew about those rape prices is indisputable. In fact, while the internet site changed into sold to its modern-day proprietor, the corporation net brands, the company attempted to sue the original developers for now not disclosing to them about the existence of this very case.

“This ruling is a fresh departure from the deference judges normally display closer to on-line carrier providers, however it isn’t a departure from the age vintage felony tenet of partner legal responsibility,” said attorney Carrie Goldberg, who makes a speciality of net privateness and sexual attack rights. “As a sufferers’ rights attorney lots of my maximum terrible instances involve ‘I met him at the internet.’ just as we might keep a owner of a house liable in the event that they knew their guest become inviting any person over every day to be murdered, the identical need to be actual of acts of exploitation happening on websites.”

Eric Goldman, a law professor that focuses on tech, advised Vice that he feels that relationship apps and sharing-economy apps have the maximum to lose ought to the lawsuit successfully go through. He mentions that strengthening laws that required these websites to display potential contributors can be burdensome to the offerings.

“They might be charged with information approximately the entirety they learn in the screenings, but in principle they might be obligated to reveal each bit of screening facts about each member to ensure they glad an duty to warn different members about any capability hassle, irrespective of how far off,” he stated. “I do not quite realize on-line dating offerings might manage that chance, to be honest with you.”

but Jamie Lee Williams, a attorney on the digital Frontier foundation, thinks that this case could have little effect at the legal guidelines set up to shield these on line offerings.

“The court’s selection turned into fact specific and confused that any legal responsibility for failure to warn here might be based on statistics the website found out from out of doors sources, including a crook criticism, no longer any records published on its website,” she stated. “In other phrases, the court found that this is not a section 230 problem. Any liability right here does now not stand up from content material posted at the website, which the court made clean.” She says she feels that the scope of this situation is small and has little to do with larger problems of the proper to hold websites accountable for its users.

Facebook, Google, Microsoft Agree to Work With Bangladesh Over ‘Inappropriate Content’: Minister

Facebook, Google, Microsoft Agree to Work With Bangladesh Over 'Inappropriate Content': Ministerfb, Google, and Microsoft have agreed to work with Bangladesh authorities over “beside the point content material” at the net, the Parliament become instructed on Sunday amidst a sequence of brutal killings through Islamists of secular bloggers and minorities.

talking at a question-and-solution consultation, state Minister for Telecoms Tarana Halim stated that no longer only social media giant fb, however the internet behemoths have agreed to respond to the government’s request inside days.

“After excessive dialogue with fb, Google, and Microsoft, it has been agreed that they will reply to requests with forty eight hours,” she said.

final year, the Bangladesh government suspended the use of fb, its Messenger app, and some other communique apps for 22 days, citing security reasons following the homicide of two foreign nationals and the assault on a police take a look at post.

earlier than the 22-day ban, the government had blocked a few famous calling and messaging offerings including WhatsApp and Viber for several days for the duration of a 3-month agitation by the BNP-led alliance early remaining yr.

Police had said then they have been having trouble monitoring down saboteurs, as they had been using these apps to talk.

In November closing yr, Halim had written to the fb authorities, conveying her want to discuss with them a gamut of problems related to the social network web site and its Messenger app.

The minister in the end held a assembly at fb’s Asia Pacific headquarters in Singapore and advised journalists approximately the social media giant’s promise to cooperate.

facebook’s half-every year ‘government Request document’ in April this 12 months confirmed that it had, for the first time, replied to requests from the Bangladesh government.

between July and December last yr, the authorities had sought statistics on 31 fb customers. The report said that it had spoke back to 16.sixty seven percent of the requests. however between January 2013 and June 2015, authorities’s request on 37 users had did not evoke any response from the social media website.

Replying to another query, Minister Halim said that Google, too, had agreed to do away with films from its YouTube arm following requests from the authorities.

Bangladesh has been witnessing a string of brutal attacks via Islamists. The Isis and Al-Qaeda within the Indian Peninsula have claimed some of the attacks however government denies the presence of these groups in Bangladesh.

The assaults given that final 12 months, which has left extra than 30 human beings useless, has placed Bangladesh below a global spotlight for failing to prevent such attacks.

On Friday, a 60-12 months-antique Hindu ashram worker was hacked to death via Isis jihadists, days after every other priest turned into killed via the same terrorist organization inside the Muslim-majority nation.

Facebook Unveils Surround 360, an Open Source 360-Degree 3D Video Camera

Facebook Unveils Surround 360, an Open Source 360-Degree 3D Video CameraTaking video recording to the following level, social media massive fb unveiled its personal 360-diploma stereoscopic 3D video camera at the two-day F8 developer conference underway at fort Mason in San Francisco, California.

The organization calls this new device the fb surround 360, and this summer season, it’s going to supply away at no cost both the digital camera’s hardware designs and the complicated software that weaves the digital camera’s myriad pics into one entire 3-dimensional landscape.

constructed for $30,000 (more or less Rs. 20 lakhs), this black circular digicam has a disk-formed spaceship-like design that has 17 evenly spaced lenses.

The camera data images from all 17 of those lenses and produces a 360-diploma spherical video for viewing virtual truth headsets just like the Samsung tools (stereoscopic 3D) and on normal smartphones, tablets, and computers (monoscopic).surround_360_fb_1.jpg

similar kinds of movies are already doping up in information Feeds on the fb social community.

you could assume of these movies as a bridge to the form of full-fledged digital truth facebook plans on providing through the Oculus Rift, the VR headset it released overdue remaining month.

fb stated that despite the fact that the Oculus is often a way of playing games, however soon the headset will foster a new breed of conversation and leisure atop its social network.

Facebook Shuts Down Its ‘Notify’ News Notification App

Facebook Shuts Down Its 'Notify' News Notification Appfb has sent out push notifications to all its customers saying that it’s far shutting down its information notification app Notify. The app turned into delivered just seven months ago by way of the social media large.

In November, fb released the app handiest for iOS users. Now facebook determined to kill it, and absorb all of the supported generation into its different merchandise.

The enterprise despatched out notifications that read, “we are transitioning components of Notify into other facebook products, and the app will not be supported.” Notify essentially collated information from round 70 courses and introduced it to customers on their lock display relying on their alternatives.

fb tells TechCrunch, “we can start integrating Notify capability into other fb merchandise, like Messenger, and might be removing Notify from the App shop. considering the fact that launching Notify, we’ve got found out a lot about the way to make notifications as timely and applicable as viable and we heard from humans using the app that Notify helped them live knowledgeable about matters they cared approximately during the day. With greater than 900 million human beings the use of Messenger every month, we assume there may be a super opportunity for publishers to reach even greater human beings interested by real-time updates from their preferred assets.”

Messenger is already rumored to be experimenting with chatbots, and this new notification tech will probably leverage that attempt. Messenger has a large user-base, and will convey greater readers to news websites, than Notify ever did.

Microsoft, Facebook Team Up to Build Undersea Internet Cable

Microsoft, Facebook Team Up to Build Undersea Internet CableMicrosoft and fb on Thursday announced they will paintings together to put a high-speed net cable across the lowest of the Atlantic Ocean.

a new, sub-sea MAREA cable changed into anticipated to be finished by means of past due 2017, with the intention of assembly growing demand via the tech agencies’ clients for immediate, dependable information connections.

As the arena is an increasing number of shifting in the direction of a destiny based totally on cloud computing, Microsoft keeps to put money into our cloud infrastructure to satisfy present day and destiny developing international call for for our greater than 2 hundred cloud offerings, ” Microsoft information middle approach wellknown supervisor Christian Belady stated in a launch.

MAREA could be the highest-capability sub-sea cable ever crossing the Atlantic, with an predicted capacity of some 160 terabytes according to 2d of records, in line with the companies.

The 6,600 kilometer cable system can also be the first connecting the us and southern Europe, running from Northern Virginia to Bilbao, Spain, Microsoft and fb stated.

From Spain, the statistics community will link to hubs in Africa, Asia, the middle East and different components of Europe, according to the corporations.

Microsoft and facebook stated that they may be running with worldwide communications agency Telxius, owned by using Telefonica, at the cable task.

“we’re always evaluating new technologies and systems to be able to offer the great connectivity feasible,” stated fb vp of network engineering Najam Ahmad.

“We want to do extra of these projects in this way – allowing us to transport fast with more collaboration.”

Microsoft sold into fb 9 years in the past, paying $240 million (more or less Rs. 1,609 crores) for a 1.6 percent stake inside the main social community.

The Coolpad Max lets you use two WhatsApp and Facebook accounts, yours for Rs 24,999

After launching the word 3 Lite and note 3 Plus in advance this yr, Coolpad has released its present day flagship telephone known as the Coolpad Max (unboxing and primary impressions) in India. The smartphone sports activities a completely unique twin areas’ function, which helps you to use two WhatsApp, facebook and different social accounts. The tool additionally flaunts a top rate steel unibody layout, and a wirelessngerprint sensor on the returned panel.

The Coolpad Max’s twin spaces characteristic enables a dual security characteristic, which not best secures all of your information, however also encrypts calls and text messages. similarly to a relaxed inner machine, the cellphone additionally has a separate external storage gadget. The handset’s distinctive area control machine lets you have two WhatsApp or other apps mounted – one in each space. The private area of the telephone can also be hidden or blanketed with a password.

transferring on to the other capabilities, the Coolpad Max flaunts a wiwireless.wi-five-inch complete HD 2.5D curved show, protected via a layer of Corning Gorilla Glass four. overall performance is treated by means of a 1.5GHz octa-middle Snapdragon 617 SoC, aided by using a meaty 4GB of RAM. storage capability on board is 64GB, which may be in addition elevated by using placing a microSD card. software-smart, it runs Android wi-five.1 Lollipop flavoured with Cool UI 8.zero. it is fuelled by means of a 2,800mAh battery.

The digital camera branch includes a thirteen-meg primary snapper with a twin-tone LED flash, section detection autofocus and an ISOCELL CMOS sensor. For selwirelesses, it receives a wi-five-megapixel front-facing shooter. The tool gives hybrid dual-SIM slots – two nano-SIMs or one nano-SIM and a microSD card. Its different connectivity options consist of 4G LTE, Bluetooth and GPS.

How Facebook wants to change the way you work

How Facebook wants to change the way you workorganisation software is, by using and massive, quite dull. Microsoft office, a protracted-status fixture in almost each place of work, has not modified lots in design – bar a few tweaks round the edges – because it released over a decade in the past. Others remain plenty the same, too.

more recent businesses, like Slack or HipChat, have brought some color and existence to the office, but best awareness on one very specific factor – instantaneous interplay – that doesn’t permeate an awful lot beyond a particular kind of employee or place of work.

facebook desires to regulate all of that and the manner the employer is doing it could, in some years, trade how you work.

big engagement

The task, known as fb at work, is still in its early ranges however, in line with numerous human beings we spoke to at special businesses, engagement with it by using regular employees – i.e. people out of doors the IT branch – is off the scale.

The Royal bank of Scotland, which became one of the first companies to trial the software program on a huge scale, saw over 90% of its users return to facebook at paintings, in keeping with Kevin Hanley, who leads design at the financial institution.

“I think fb lets us communicate, discuss and resolve issues that other solutions, including electronic mail, really can not,” he said in an interview closing 12 months. “we love the truth that facebook at work gives you the capability to decide-in to boards and agencies you need to be part of as opposed to being on the receiving quit of e-mail distribution lists which you want to opt out of.”

song stays the equal

the basis of fb at work is, like fb at domestic, the news feed, messaging, businesses, photographs, and the entirety else you would count on. The layout – news feed in the centre, blue bar at the top, and so on – is basically the same, albeit with some minor modifications.

This, Hanley said, become why humans are engaged with it: unlike office, e mail, or another application, humans already use fb. consistent with the employer’s maximum recent earnings file, the average consumer spends round 50 minutes consistent with day at the social network.

“you will nearly battle to inform the difference among facebook at work and at domestic,” Hanley said. “that is a very particular intent. What you’ll understand as fb for your private existence is what you’ll realise at paintings.”

That sort of engagement is unprecedented and offers fb a large springboard from which to construct out different programs for extraordinary environments, like the workplace.

danger of distraction

Of path, the truth humans are already into fb may be a downside. “the largest mission for us is taking it from the social ‘fun’ experience to doing actual paintings on it,” said Ben Sand, vp of operations at Kenshoo, in an interview in advance this yr. “i would be mendacity if I stated that we have been now not suffering with that even these days.”

different corporations we spoke to had similar troubles, with employees spending time scrolling thru the news feed instead of doing work. One man or woman, who requested to stay nameless due to the fact facebook at work continues to be within the trying out degree, stated the software can be “distracting because there may be continually some thing new to examine.”

but, this will no longer be this kind of problem because the information feed is full of work stuff, from photographs of merchandise to statuses out of your boss to messages from colleagues. in place of scrolling via BuzzFeed, which is not going to have any work-associated content, customers are as a minimum looking at semi-applicable updates.