SAN FRANCISCO -- With urgency growing to convince young people to sign up for healthcare coverage with the March 31 deadline for enrollment under the Affordable Care Act looming, President Obama took questions on Quora on Monday to better explain the complex program to the public.
The appearance on Quora was part of an outreach campaign from the White House to reach young people who are not convinced the program is in their best interest. President Obama also recently appeared on “Between Two Ferns” with comedian Zach Galifianakis.
Quora is a question-and-answer service where experts weigh in. The free-flowing exchange of information and ideas was founded about five years ago by early Facebook employees Adam D’Angelo and Charlie Cheever. It has answers on more than 500,000 topics.
Quora also announced on Monday that it would now verify the accounts of high-profile users such as President Obama, actor Ashton Kutcher, NBA player Jeremy Lin and Facebook Chief Operating Officer Sheryl Sandberg. Verified accounts will have a blue check mark similar to Twitter and Facebook, said Alex Wu, Quora’s head of product marketing and partnerships.
“We have had the good fortune to see a lot of public figures over the last year come on Quora and share their knowledge,” Wu said. “They are some of the best people to answer questions. The president answering questions about the Affordable Care Act is the ultimate Quora experience.”
Quora, which is headquartered in Mountain View and has more than 50 employees, is pitching itself as a place where public figures and celebrities can give in-depth answers rather than just posting a photo on Twitter or a comment on Facebook.
“They get to show a different side of themselves that takes more than 140 characters,” Wu said.
Many of the most popular people on Quora are not famous, such as Robert Frost, who trains astronauts and flight controllers at NASA, and corporate strategist Leonard Kim.
Quora declined to discuss how popular its service is other than to say it has millions of users and hundreds of millions of page views a month.
“We are hitting new records all the time,” Wu said.