It happened to all of us. Your congressman tweets something stupid, and you jump into the comments with the devastating answer, "Sir, this is an Arby's." It might feel good, but it would not be better if you knew that your Representative you have actually seen ad of the joke? Well, there's a Chrome extension that may just be in your alley.
The creators of ePluribus believe that they have developed a system that allows any online answerer to speak out. The new Chrome extension is part of an initiative designed to somewhat limit the intimacy of information-era spam by politicians by allowing users to send their representatives a message through official channels when they tweet, post on Facebook , or respond in comments on websites.
The system is relatively simple: you download the ePluribus Chrome extension and you will be asked for your name, address, email address and phone number. If you are visiting a website that is integrated with ePluribus, a drop-down menu for ePluribus should be displayed in the Comments field where you can select one of your political representatives for CC in your message. Your friends and followers will see your tweet or post anyway. However, you will also be sent via your official website to the representative of your choice. The real strength of ePluribus is that it also verifies that you actually live in the district of a politician by e-mailing a card with a verification code. Spammers are to be singled out and politicians assured that they really hear from one of their constituents.
The company's co-founder, Liam McCarty, told Fast Company that ePluribus wants to create a system in which the government can trust online feedback is not played by bots or other bad actors. McCarty believes we can avoid situations like the ongoing FCC scandal, where 94 percent of public comment on his decision to lift net neutrality was found to be counterfeit or duplicate.
The Company also provides its service for commenting on news sites, claiming to have worked with "1
My first thought was to believe that this would only worsen the futility of online comments and e-mails to politicians. EPluribus also wants to help sort out the noise. The company presented its broader plans for "the world's first bourgeois network" for its now completed crowdfunding campaign. Politicians and their staff get access to a data dashboard, which breaks down comments into topics and other categories. With a quick glance, Texas Senator Ted Cruz employees realize his constituents think his new beard looks like a dead animal. Or the New York Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez can monitor in real time the exact ratio of hatred and lust she receives from conservatives in her neighborhood.
This seems to be the place where the business model comes into play On the Indiegogo side, ePluribus announces that the data dashboard will be made available to agents free of charge, "if at all possible." So they do not close the Door to the possibility to charge this service. More importantly, they say that "ePluribus makes money by selling aggregated, non-personally identifiable data and analysis to interested organizations such as the media and academic institutions." Of course they do.
We contacted ePluribus, to ask for a number questions about how they want to monetize the data they collect. We asked if the company sold data that came from the content of messages and whether it intended to sell data to campaigns or pollsters. We will update this post when we receive an answer.
What do you say? Would you exchange data about your policy to have the chance to yell at your representative? Would you like ePluribus to be integrated in Kinja? How long does it take for an ePluribus user to be arrested?
[ePluribus via Fast Company]