Facebook will likely be a regular stopover on the presidential campaign trail, as political hopefuls try to learn the lessons of the last "social media election." Hillary Clinton has been one of the forerunners in this respect, and yesterday hosted her first Facebook Q&A, answering questions on her "vision for a better economy." She also took the time to respond to some more informal queries, letting users know that being a grandmother was "THE BEST THING EVER" and that she "never met a pantsuit [she] didn't love," before dropping in a link to some official Clinton schwag: the Everyday Pantsuit Tee. She even signed out with a GIF (above).
Clinton expressed solidarity with Black Lives Matter
When responding to a more serious question on the burden of student debt, Clinton said that she would be "putting forward specific proposals to refinance debt so it becomes more affordable," and that the matter was one of her "biggest economic and educational priorities." In another answer, she expressed solidarity with the Black Lives Matter campaign, and noted that "racial inequality is not merely a symptom of economic inequality." She added that politicians must also take specific actions — such as equipping "every police department in the US [with] body cameras" and "[providing] alternatives to incarceration for low-level offenders" — to tackle the problem.
When questioned about jobs threatened by automation and the prospect of a future workplace with less stable employment, Clinton was more equivocal. She said the country needed to "resolve these questions while embracing the promise and potential of these new technologies and without stifling innovation," but offered no specific policies or promises. This was in contrast to comments last week in which she was clearer in criticizing the "on-demand economy" (including startups like Uber) and said she would crack down on "bosses misclassifying workers as contractors." Definitive statements like this are what voters presumably want to hear from their politicians (regardless of whether they agree or not), but at the moment, it seems that social media is being embraced more for the sake of image. Dropping GIFs and ALL CAPS into a conversation can make a politician seem relaxed and relatable, but it's not quite the same as actually answering questions.