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Facebook’s plan to make you vote

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Since its inception social media has been the hotbed of political discussion. And with the elections around the corner, the Internet is abuzz with conversations around the ongoing Lok Sabha elections. With 100 million potential voters on Facebook alone, political parties and candidates have decided to deeply invest and integrate Facebook into their strategies.



The website, on the other hand, has decided to undertake a series of initiatives to engage and encourage the voter to make an informed choice. It kicked off its first season of Facebook Talks last month featuring election candidates talking to Madhu Trehan of Newslaundry. The Talks imitated typical townhalls, with audiences can share their views and questions at the venue or online.



The second season of the Talks kicked off on 11th April and is scheduled to be held in three cities – Amritsar, Varanasi and Vadodara. Prior to each of these townhalls, citizens are asked to upload a 60s video on a Facebook group expressing what they think is important for India, what they feel needs to be the agenda and what will influence their vote. The topics discussed in the townhall will be based on the issues people raise in the videos. Citizens wishing to attend can register themselves on their respective city’s Facebook groups.



 ‘In Season II of Facebook Talks, we are going back to the core principles of the Founding fathers and taking the show to the people in some important constituencies. You – the Citizen of India will be the focus of the show,’ said Ankhi Das – Director, Public Policy, India & South Asia – Facebook.



 In order to beef up their effort for the elections, Facebook has also launched a list of nifty features on their site. The ‘I’m a Voter’ button allows voters to share with their friends that they are voting this season. ‘Know Your Neta’ allows users to access candidate information without incurring internet costs. ‘Election Lists’ are interest lists that users can follow to see what elected representatives are saying on Facebook and the ‘Election Tracker’ shows how these representatives are faring on Facebook.


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