Menu
Is Facebook the new political town hall?

Is Facebook the new political town hall?

Presidential candidate Ben Carson has run 240 ads on Facebook targeting different audiences

Facebook is rapidly swallowing up the news business. Will political debate be next?

Candidates for the U.S. presidential nomination are turning to Facebook to reach potential voters, and the social network is happy to oblige.

“We’re excited about the election, because we think we give politicians and people a really compelling way to interact,” COO Sheryl Sandberg said on Facebook's quarterly earnings call Wednesday.

“If you wanted to feel like you were interacting with someone running for office before, you had to go to a town hall meeting, and increasingly that’s happening on Facebook,” she said.

Republican candidate Ben Carson has run 240 ads on Facebook targeting different audiences, Sandberg said. “So we’re starting to see candidates use our platform to communicate and to share.”

It's easy to see the appeal for politicians. Facebook had 217 million users in North America at the end of September (it doesn't provide a figure for the U.S., but it's sure to be the lion's share). Facebook gives them broad reach and lets them craft messages for specific segments of the population.

"We think we offer something compelling, which is the reach of Facebook with very unique targeting, so on Facebook you can target ads by district, by interest,” Sandberg said.

>And people do use Facebook to discuss politics. Between the start of the year and Oct. 7, she said, 68 million people in the U.S. had more than a billion "interactions" about the presidential campaign. She didn't elaborate, but presumably it means they posted something about the campaign or liked a post on the topic by someone else.

And a study in July from the Pew Research Center found that 61 percent of American Millennials (those aged 18-33) get political news from Facebook in a given week.

It's another way the social network plays a role in shaping public debate, but it might trigger similar concerns to those raised about Facebook disseminating news.Essentially, the argument goes, Facebook's algorithms are designed to benefit Facebook and keep people engaged on the site, rather than to ensure people are well informed.

Still, for Ben Carson at least, campaigning on Facebook might be paying off. A poll from Quinnipiac University on Wednesday showed him virtually tied with Donald Trump as a front runner for the Republican nomination.

Follow Us

Join the New Zealand Reseller News newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.

Slideshows

Meet the leading HP partners in New Zealand...

Meet the leading HP partners in New Zealand...

HP has recognised its top performing partners in New Zealand at the second annual 2016 HP Partner Awards, held at a glittering bash in Auckland. The HP Partner Awards recognises and celebrates excellence, growth, consistency and engagement of its top partners. This year also saw the addition of several new categories, resulting in 11 companies winning across 11 award categories.

Meet the leading HP partners in New Zealand...
Channel comes together as Ingram Micro Showcase hits Auckland

Channel comes together as Ingram Micro Showcase hits Auckland

Ingram Micro outlined its core focuses for 2017 at Showcase in Auckland, bringing together the channel for a day of engaging keynotes, compelling breakout sessions and new technologies.

Channel comes together as Ingram Micro Showcase hits Auckland
Show Comments