Facebook prepares people for India’s state elections with new civic engagement tools

In preparation for India’s state elections, Facebook has introduced two tools to help encourage civic participation.

On polling day in each of the five state elections, there will be a polling day reminder shown at the top of the News Feed of people who are 18 and above. 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’ve voted by clicking on the “Share You Voted” button. By clicking the button people can highlight their status as a voter to their Facebook friends, without specifying who they voted for.

Facebook first showed the Election Day reminder (I’m a Voter) button in the U.S. in 2008 to remind people that it was Election Day in the U.S. We have shown the reminder in each U.S. election since, and in more than 47 countries for national elections across the globe – including India, Brazil, Canada, United Kingdom, and Indonesia.

Facebook’s Election Day is designed to remind people to vote and help them find their polling place. Studies (Nature Study) have shown that people are more likely to vote when they are reminded on Facebook and they see that their friends have voted – and we want to encourage this type of civic engagement.

Facebook issues module for political Pages
Political candidates and elected officials in India now have the option of sharing a brief (200 character) description of 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. This is a new feature for politician Pages in India that allows them to provide short, unfiltered statements about public policy issues that are important to them and their constituents. People in India can visit these pages to review what the candidates stand for in preparation of the election.

Ankhi Das, Director of Public Policy for Facebook in India and South & Central Asia, said, “Our mission is to make the world more open and connected and that includes connecting people with their governments and those who seek to represent them. Conversation is at the heart of a vibrant democracy and Facebook has become the platform for these conversations. We want to encourage civic participation – that’s why we’ve created tools to make it easier for people to participate and have a voice in the process.”

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