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307 Politics: The great social media gatekeepers, campaign season officially kicks off, and other news

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg speaks in 2016 at the F8 Facebook Developer Conference in San Francisco. Some candidates for office around Wyoming are reporting issues with becoming verified on the social media platform. In the time of COVID-19, platforms like Facebook might be the most important tool candidates for public office have at their disposal.

According to 2019 data from Pew Research, nearly three-quarters of the country uses at least one social media platform, with Facebook – at more than 220 million users – leading the way. It’s a massive platform for politicians, allowing them to reach any demographic they want at any time.

It also means that the politicians themselves need to be able to engage meaningfully in that platform, using everything from Facebook Live to their own forms of advertising, to get the word out in a world where knocking on doors and shoe-leather campaign techniques are no longer enough.

Social media campaigns, particularly on Facebook, still have a barrier to entry, however. And across Wyoming, many lesser-known candidates who were once able to make up ground with aggressive in-person campaign techniques and face-to-face interactions with voters now, once again, find themselves at a disadvantage.

To run advertisements as a candidate […]

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