Facebook Launches 'Candidate Connect' To Connect Voters With Poll Candidates
While India has been bracing for the upcoming general elections starting April 11, Facebook has announced a new feature in India which is going to help the election candidates fighting the polls to connect with the voters across the country.
What are the new features?
Facebook has introduced a feature called ‘Candidate Connect’ that will enable Facebook users in India to watch videos created by different election candidates. These short videos will be available in the News Feed of the Facebook users up till the elections day and will feature answers to a set of some pertinent questions posted by the particular Lok Sabha candidate.
“We actually think the greatest contribution that we can make is to help everybody be more informed. Candidate Connect is essentially a visual guide for voters,” Samidh Chakrabarti, Director – Product Management for Civic Integrity, Facebook, told PTI.
— Matilde Giglio (@MatildeGiglio) March 26, 2019
He said that Candidate Connect has been launched in India so that Facebook users can directly hear views of candidates in their constituencies. Facebook is going to pose a set of questions to these candidates, who will then post 20-seconds long videos in response to each of the questions.
He said that Facebook is working with a third-party non-partisan organisation to receive candidate names which gets them from the Election Commission list. The video will show up on the timeline of Facebook users from the area. Additionally, Facebook will also send out reminders to people on polling dates under ‘Share You Voted’ tag.
Introduction of the new features is just another move on Facebook’s part to ensure free and fair elections on this election season.
Code of Ethics
Recently, the Internet and Mobile Association of India (IAMAI) and various social media organisations, at a meeting with the Election Commission on March 19 agreed to formulate a comprehensive a “Code of Ethics” for online platforms in light of the upcoming elections.
Reportedly, the meeting was attended by officials of the IAMAI, Facebook, Whatsapp, Twitter, Google, ShareChat, TikTok and BigoTV. The meeting was held to review the steps that should be taken to report electoral rule violations ahead of the elections.
Starting March 20 right up to the end of polling on May 19, the social media platforms have agreed to pull down political adverts during the 48-hour “silence period” before polling ends. This and other rules are part of the “Code of Ethics” which social media companies in India have agreed to adhere to.
The companies along with IAMAI collectively submitted a code of ethics containing eight points to Chief Election Commissioner Sunil Arora. The Code of Ethics is a voluntary mechanism to help conduct free and transparent elections in India. At the same time, the purpose of the code is “to identify measures that participants can put in place to increase confidence in the electoral process.”