Facebook is starting to put more posts from local politicians into people’s News Feed

Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer
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Facebook is testing a new feature that inserts posts from local politicians into users’ News Feeds, even if they don’t necessarily follow those politicians.

The new feature, which was first noticed by one of my Recode colleagues, included a label titled “This week in your government.” A Facebook spokesperson confirmed that the feature is a test.

Facebook is testing a feature that puts posts from local politicians in your News Feed.
Facebook

“We are testing a new civic engagement feature that shows people on Facebook the top posts from their elected officials,” this spokesperson said in a statement. “Our goal is to give people a simple way to learn about what’s happening at all levels of their government.”

The feature will appear, at most, once per week, and only for users who follow at least one local, state or federal representative from their area. Facebook knows who your local reps are if you handed over your address to use the company’s voting plan feature — or its “Town Hall” feature, which helps people find and follow their elected officials.

Otherwise, you’ll just see posts from politicians at the state and federal levels.

Facebook has been active in the past year about getting its user base more involved in politics. In addition to the features mentioned above, which were rolled out before the November presidential election, Facebook also let users register to vote via the social network, and CEO Mark Zuckerberg claims more than two million people did so.

Adding this new feature might inspire more politicians to post to Facebook, especially if they think their posts will be promoted to more voters. It’s unclear if Facebook takes political affiliation into account when deciding which posts to show people, but if it does not, it could also be a way for politicians to get their message to voters across the aisle.

Update: Political affiliation is not used to determine what you see. Instead, Facebook will surface whatever posts have the highest engagement regardless of political party, a spokesperson confirmed.

Of course, Facebook’s influence on politics has not all be positive. Many believe that false news on the social network helped influence last fall’s U.S. presidential election. Facebook, too, has acknowledged some of this and is actively releasing features to combat so-called “fake news.”


This article originally appeared on Recode.net.

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