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NBC News Builds Election Confessions With Twilio

electionconfessions featured

electionconfessionsposterMy old college roommate has some pretty salient thoughts about Bernie Sanders. Also, my Mom’s coworker says she has a fool-proof plan to balance the budget. This is what my Facebook feed looks like in election season, and the same is true for many Americans.

NBC News built Election Confessions to give anyone an outlet to share their political thoughts without the fear of judgment or inciting a riot on social media.

Now, when the thought about that candidate (you know which one) pops in your head, there’s a safe outlet. Send a text, a picture, or make a call to ElectionConfessions and share it anonymously with NBC News, who will then share it with hundreds of thousands of people.

What Happens When People Stop Being Polite and Start Being Political

“The reaction has been incredible,” says Andrew Pinzler, Head of Innovation Labs for The TODAY Show. NBC News and MSNBC outlets broadcast the ElectionConfessions number (424-353-2016) on social media and on air, fielding and reading confessions on air. On the web, NBC News keeps a record of all the submissions.

You’ll find pictures of handwritten diatribes, audio of voters praising and defaming candidates, and text message transcripts of someone’s innermost political thoughts on


Building An Online Confession Box

A few weeks ago, ElectionConfessions was just an  idea Anna Brand was tossing around with Andrew and a group of their colleagues. They were fascinated with the idea giving friends, neighbors, family –anyone an anonymous outlet to share private political thoughts.

“I realized I could build it out fast and use Twilio as a clever way to get submissions from people,” says Andrew, Andrew built ElectionConfessions using Twilio, Dropbox and a few AWS resources to ensure the hack could scale with NBC News’ audience.

When a user sends an SMS, MMS or voice message to ElectionConfessions, it’s uploaded to a Dropbox folder. The NBC News team then reviews the submission and pushes it to their site.

Right now, they’ve received over 3,500 confessions and are receiving over 500 more on a daily basis. So while there might not be consensus when it comes to political candidates, both sides of the aisle can probably agree they needed the outlet.

Follow Andrew, Jake and Anna – and get your political thoughts out in the ether here.

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