FB: Tool to help vote-seekers connect with voters

Last Updated 27 March 2019, 03:29 IST

A candidate contesting the Lok Sabha polls will soon be able to use “a special tool” on Facebook to connect with voters in his constituency and seek votes.

The Facebook on Tuesday announced the forthcoming launch of the special “Candidate Connect” tool for the vote-seekers to engage with the voters. The tool will enable the candidates to post a short video on the Facebook, introducing her or him to the voters and outlining how she or he will address their concerns and resolve their problems in the constituency.

With the social media's role in shaping public opinion coming under focus ahead of the Lok Sabha polls, the Facebook Inc said that it was working hard “to prevent bad actors from interfering with elections”.

Once the “Candidate Connect” tool is launched next week, the voters across the country will be able to watch on Facebook 20-second videos of candidates contesting from their respective constituencies – either through a bookmark in their settings or through a message in their News Feed.

“These videos, presented through the 'Candidate Connect' tool, will enable candidates to engage with the electorate. With these short videos, candidates can introduce themselves and highlight how they will address outstanding challenges in their constituencies if elected to office,” Facebook Inc said in a press release on Tuesday.

“The questions included as part of the Candidate Connect tool and the name itself are an outcome of a locally conducted consumer research,” it added.

The Facebook on Tuesday also announced the launch of another new tool “Share You Voted”, which would allow people to share the fact that they had voted.

“The posts and photos from people who have voted are then put together in a collage at the top of peoples' Facebook Friend's News Feeds. This will enable voters to celebrate their casting of the ballot and also encourage others to participate in the voting process,” it said.

“We believe encouraging civic participation is an important contribution Facebook can make to the community,” Samidh Chakrabarti, the Director for Product Management for Civic Integrity at the Facebook Inc, said. “With the introduction of tools like Candidate Connect and Share You Voted, we aim to better equip our users as they look forward to participating in the political process of the country.”

“Our elections work is not just limited to increasing users’ involvement in the democratic process, but also to protect its integrity on Facebook. We are working hard to prevent bad actors from interfering with the elections on Facebook,” said Chakrabarti.

He said that the Facebook Inc had more than tripled the team working on safety and security to 30,000 people, introduced unprecedented transparency requirements for political advertising, greatly improved its ability to detect and quickly remove fake accounts, and stepped up its efforts to fight false news and misinformation.

“Facebook has incredible potential to be a positive force for democracy around the world and, giving a voice to people of all ages and political beliefs, and encourages debate with healthy exchange of ideas,” added Chakrabarti.

(Published 26 March 2019, 20:31 IST)

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