The Internet just helped a staggering number of people engage with their government

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Only rarely is the Web recognized for helping advance the cause of civic education and government transparency. But for a little over an hour on Feb 7, it did an amazing thing.

The Internet brought an enormous number of people together to hear a federal appeals court deliberate over President Trump's entry ban. We're talking about oral argument. In a federal court. Where there wasn't much to see besides a black background and the court's logo. Considering how complex the discussion quickly became, it's all the more stunning how the feed kept attracting new viewers rather than losing them as time went on. At its peak, more than 135,000 people had tuned in to the audio-only proceeding on YouTube — and that's before you count those who were watching the court's live stream from other sources, such as cable TV and Facebook. That's pretty extraordinary — and another sign that in today's digitally connected world, the best technologies make accessible what was previously inaccessible.


The Internet just helped a staggering number of people engage with their government