Your message—which contains your name, location, and a personal story, if you followed the app’s directions—gets shared publicly with no way to delete it.
Ironically, the app rolled out amid concerns about internet privacy. Wired urged readers to use Stance to call about a vote on privacy protections, and Stance’s twitter feed is full of sound files on the same topic.
Your only clue that Stance will do this is a brief message that you get when you first install the app. Click past it in your excitement to message your rep, and you’ll never see it again. I missed it; so did a handful of others who complained to Stance or its parent Ense on Twitter. I emailed Stance about this, and received a reply stating that “you’re correct, the messages are displayed publicly on our website and there is no way to delete them at this time.”
Even if you realized your message would be posted on Stance’s website, you probably didn’t guess it would also go on Ense’s stream of sound bites. Messages to representatives now make up most of the posts there.
As a tool to contact your elected officials, Stance is okay. It sends the messages to your congressperson’s voicemail by robo-calling their Washington office after hours. It keeps retrying until it gets through, but if your rep is in high demand, there’s no guarantee this approach will work. (My senator’s voicemail is often full at or shortly after the close of business hours.) You also don’t get an opportunity to review your message before it goes out to the world. After you speak, you just get a screen with two buttons for “do over” or “send recording.” If you choose to send, just be sure you’re okay with sending the recording to everyone.