UNA-NCA Snapshots
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UNA-NCA Snapshots

Introduction to Digital Advocacy: Facebook

By Liz Jackson, UNA-NCA Digital Advocacy Lead

In recent years, Facebook has faced a slew of international criticism, targeting apparent privacy issues regarding the sale of users’ personal information to advertising companies, as well as its role in distributing news media.

While advocates must navigate the site with caution, Facebook hosts the most intergenerational audience across popular social media platforms. Therefore, having access and exposure to this vast demographic of people for digital advocacy efforts. Facebook offers individuals a sense of structured digital community, a vital component to mobilizing in the COVID-19 remote age.

Getting Started

For those just beginning their Facebook journey, you must have an individual profile through which to manage a page. A profile is a place on Facebook where you can share information about yourself, such as your interests, photos, videos, current city, and hometown. To see your profile, click or tap your name or profile picture at the top of Facebook. You must have a profile to create a Page or help manage one. Pages are places on Facebook where artists, public figures, businesses, brands, organizations, and nonprofits can connect with their fans or customers. When someone likes or follows a Page on Facebook, they can start seeing updates from that Page in their News Feed.

Once you’ve created your profile and page, you can utilize the tools that the site offers. One way that you can mobilize your friends and individuals who have “liked” your page is through the creation and promotion of events.

Events

Events allow you to publicize you or your organization’s programs by s boosting the circulation of the event and featuring a discussion feed to discuss program details and generate enthusiasm. You send invitations to individual users — the individuals will then get to choose if they are ‘going’ or ‘interetested’ in attending. You can also include key dates, the location, or Zoom link, as well as the website to a supporting organization. Facebook includes a feature that allows you to livestream footage from a Zoom meeting. Events are additionally an effective tool to engage people in phone-banking, fundraising, or other collective action.

To create a private Facebook event on your computer:

  1. From your News Feed, click Events in the left menu.
  2. Click + Create New Event on the left side.
  3. Click Private Event, then click Next. Only invited guests will see your event. Once you’ve created a private event, you won’t be able to change it to the public later.
  4. Fill in the event name, location, date, time, and description.
  5. Click Create. You’ll be taken to your event where you can invite guests, add a cover photo or video, share posts, and edit event details.

Note: Only Pages, not personal profiles, can create recurring events. Learn more about the difference between a Page and a profile.

To create a public Facebook event on your computer:

  1. From your News Feed, click Events in the left menu.
  2. Click + Create Event on the left side.
  3. Click Public Event, then click Next. Anyone will be able to see your event and search for it, even if you aren’t friends. Once you’ve created a public event, you won’t be able to change it to private later.
  4. Fill in the event name, location, date, time, and description.
  5. Type and select keywords about your public event so it can be better recommended to people who are interested in that topic (example: Food festival).
  6. Choose who can edit and post in your event and then click Create. You’ll be taken to your event where you can invite guests, add a cover photo or video, share posts, and edit event details.

To edit an existing event on your computer:

  1. From your News Feed, click Events in the left menu.
  2. Select an event you would like to edit.
  3. Click Edit to the right.
  4. Change the event name, location, time, description, or co-hosts.
  5. Click Update.

Note: Public event creators can change the date and time after creation but may not be able to if the event is within a couple of days.

Organize Groups

Creating a ‘group’ will allow you to stay connected and lead members of your community. For example: if you are passionate about climate change in your area, you could create a group entitled “National Capital Area Environmentalists”. This group page could be shared, with this page comes the ability to promote different events centered around the cause and the interconnectivity to plan.

To create a group:

  1. Click in the top right of Facebook and select Group.
  2. Enter your group name, choose the privacy option, and then add people to your group.
  3. Click Create.

Once you create your group, you can personalize it by uploading a cover photo and adding a description.

Note: We recommend that group admins share any commercial or business affiliations in the group, as well as updating the group if affiliations change. You can update the group by changing the group description and making an announcement.

Combatting Misinformation

As you continue to consume and produce more digital content, it is imperative to remain vigilant against misinformation in your digital social circles.

The greatest approach to preventing the spread of misinformation is to pause and reflect before sharing content. Remember that the creators of disinformation often purposely make content that is designed to trigger an emotional response, so if you find yourself having those reactions, please pause and consider the following questions:

Here are five questions to ask yourself before you share or like a “post”:

Is this the original account, article, or piece of content?

Who shared this or created it?

When was this created?

What account is sharing this? When was the account created? Do they share things from all over the world at all times during the day and night? Could this be a bot?

Why was this shared?

Digital advocacy has never been more imperative for change-makers. While it is important to proceed with caution, we can utilize the tools across the platforms we use in our every-day lives in order to promote progress in the same way we promote ourselves on social media.

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