The Next Era of Citizen Engagement in Politics- Facebook?
Facebook and Marjority Leader Eric Cantor’s office have partnered to create a Citizen Cosponsor– a Facebook application designed to allow Facebook users to “cosponsor” aka “like” a bill and get updates on it. The Majority Leader’s website touts the app as:
I love the idea of engaging citizens in the congressional process through circles they are already active in and increasing transparency so as soon as I heard about the app I signed up and told all my friends… that is until I looked at the actual content and had to retract my endorsement. At this point and time the app only features six bills- 5 of which are Republican sponsored. In addition, the bill titles have been changed and the bill summaries are clearly partisan. House Minority Whip Leader Steny Hoyer (D-MD) press office tweeted in response:
If the point of the app is increased participation and governmental transparency then it should be clear who is writing the content and what political party they align with– better yet, take the content from Congressional Research Service reports (written for congressional staff) which are nonpartisan to begin with.
Bottom Line: love the idea and major props to Matt Lira for the concept but lets be real, its a little embarrassing to say you’re forwarding the goals of democracy through transparency and then create a non-transparent platform.