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Facebook Billionaire Sean Parker Turns to Politics with 'Brigade' App

Sean Parker, the 35 year old investor / entrepreneur who has had a hand to play in some of the biggest names in the digital world, from his early days at Napster through to present day giants Facebook and Spotify, has entered beta phase with his latest endeavour.

techcrunch.com
Partnering with Matt Mahan (previously CEO of Causes.com), the new app titled 'Brigade' aims to get the younger demographic engaging more with the political world. A quick scan through your Facebook or Twitter feed highlights the fact that much of the world, regardless of voter turnout figures, has an opinion to share on current events. Granted, it often boils down to nothing more than an uninformed rant about none-issues, but there is still a massive untapped pool of valid arguments and debates kicking around the internet.

Brigade aims to filter out all the nonsense and provide a clear, concise representation of public opinion and personal standpoints on issues including; international trade agreements, immigration, local party politics and investment.

Upon starting the app users are presented with a 'deck' of political issues, each accompanied by a related statement which users can choose to either agree or disagree with. Once you have picked your side you are then free to view the full poll figures, as well as read through all arguments and counter-arguments on that particular issue. As you develop your profile you will have the added functionality of comparing your political standpoint to that of your friends on the network, in order to facilitate further debate.

In recent interviews, both Mahan and Parker have issued statements on the apps mission:

“The mission of the company is to empower people in their civic life and to have influence over the direction their society goes in by having them articulate and identify where they stand on issues uncover alignment with friends, get organized into groups of like-minded people and ultimately act collectively to shape the policies that affect their lives.” - Matt Mahan

“When we were thinking about how to engage people in politics, most people say they don’t care about politics. They hate politicians. Congressional approval ratings are at a historic low. Trust in government is at a historic low. From one point of view, the system is about as broken as it can be. But when we interview users, we find that everyone has an issue they care about or something that they want to change in the world.” - Sean Parker

The ambition for the app, however, goes beyond simply encouraging discussions between existing friends and associates. According to Parker, the app will also allow users to form groups of politically aligned individuals, extending the debate beyond your close-knit group of friends.

The app will also use a form of reward system, known as 'Social Credits', if another user changes their opinion based on an argument you have presented. Exactly what these credits will be used for still seems a little unclear, but I imagine they will be used as a trade-in for extra views / reach on your own posts in a system similar to that planned by social network 'Minds'.

The app is currently home to 13,000 beta testers, each registering opinions on an average of 90 issues. The app's developers seem happy with initial figures but this kind of opinion sharing app has historically struggled to gain traction and build a sufficient audience, as many social media users will opt to keep sharing their opinions on established platforms such as twitter.

At this point, the future success of 'Brigade' is up for debate itself, but Sean Parker's admirable track record has to give them a good measure of hope.


Sam Bonson
Sam is an aspiring novelist with a passion for fantasy and crime thrillers. Currently working as Editor of Social Songbird, he hopes to one day drop that 'aspiring' prefix. Follow him @SamAtSMF

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Facebook Billionaire Sean Parker Turns to Politics with 'Brigade' App Reviewed by Sam Bonson on Friday, June 19, 2015 Rating: 5

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