In the weeks following the election of President Donald Trump, tips for how people can voice their concerns to public officials circulated on social media and on Google docs.
Now a group of techies wants to make reaching officials in Congress even easier. All you have to do is text. Called "Resistbot," you'd be right to assume this app is meant to be a thorn in Trump's side.
"We will faithfully deliver any message our users send in, but the voice of the product is for the liberals and conservatives in opposition to the Trump administration," wrote co-creator Jason Putorti, a designer for AngelList who volunteered for Hillary Clinton's presidential campaign, in an email to Recode.
Emphasis on "conservatives" is Putorti's.
This is a nonprofit side-project for those involved. Volunteering on the project in addition to Putorti is Eric Ries, CEO of startup Long-Term Stock Exchange and author of "The Lean Startup," a book on entrepreneurship. More than a dozen others, including about half a dozen employees of Twilio, are also helping out, according to Putorti.
Launched Wednesday, Resistbot faxes users' texted messages to officials. Just type "resist" and hit send to 50409, and the automated bot will ask your name and your zip code. The zip code is used to determine who your public officials are. Then you type in your message.
The first message you send will go, by default, to your Senators. The bot is supposed to also help users send messages to Representatives after interacting more with the user, according to the app website.
The site says Resistbot creators have confirmed messages are actually received by congressional staffers.
Sending a text message to reach your Senator or Representative may sound less impactful than making a phone call or stopping by their office in person, but Putorti said faxes and emails "are considered just as effective or more so [than phone calls] because there's no way to truly verify if a call is from a constituent."
"What staffers need are tallies, turning constituent input into a count of support for or against. Ideally there would be a much better system for this but our democracy isn't perfect, it's incredibly messy," he said.
—By Tess Townsend, Recode
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