Facebook wants to encourage civic participation in the ongoing elections in the Indian states- Uttar Pradesh, Uttarakhand, Goa, Punjab and Manipur. Th social networking giant has today introduced two new tools to engage people to vote for the ongoing elections.
First in the list is 'Polling day reminder' tool, which will be shown at the top of the News Feed of people who are 18 and above on the voting day in each of the five states.
Facebook in a statement to IANS said, "The reminder links to the Election Commission's website where people can find details on their polling booth and other polling day information. People also have the option to share with their friends that they have voted by clicking on the 'Share You Voted' button".
A click on the button will highlight their status as a voter to their Facebook friends. It is worth mentioning that the button will not specify who they have voted for to protect user's interests.
In an another statement, Ankhi Das, Director of Public Policy for Facebook in India and South and Central Asia said, "We want to encourage civic participation - that is why we have created tools to make it easier for people to participate and have a voice in the process".
Moreover, political candidates and elected officials participating in the elections will also have the option of sharing a brief description of about 200 characters, describing their position on 20 preset issues (such as budget, education, health, development ) or creating a custom set of issues on which they wish to share their views.
As noted, social networks play an important role in a democracy and has the power to engage participation in such political activities. It was in year 2008 when Facebook first showed the Election Day reminder (I'm a Voter) button in the US to remind people that it was Election Day in the country.