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India: Facebook launches tools to encourage voting

Ahead of the state assembly polls in five states including Uttar Pradesh, Uttarakhand, Goa, Punjab and Manipur, social networking giant Facebook, India, has introduced two new tools to help encourage civic contribution. Actually, there will be a “polling day reminder” at the top of the News Feed of people who are 18 and above on polling day in each of the five states.

“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,” said the company in a statement.

People can show up their status as a voter to their Facebook friends without specifying who they voted for by clicking the button. “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,” said Ankhi Das, Director of Public Policy for Facebook in India and South and Central Asia.

Political contender and designated officials in India will also have the choice of sharing a brief (200 characters) narrative of their position on 20 preset issues (such as budget, education, health, development ) or creating a custom set of concerns on which they hope to share their views.

Initially, Facebook showed the Election Day reminder (I’m a Voter) buttons in the US in 2008 to remind voters that it was Election Day in the nation.

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