With an eye on the upcoming Lok Sabha elections, Facebook has introduced a new platform called Facebook Talks Live, where users can ask the country's top politicians such as Narendra Modi, Mamata Banerjee, Lalu Yadav, Akhilesh Yadav and Arvind Kejriwal about their electoral agenda.
Facebook opened questions for candidates on February 20 and BJP's prime ministerial candidate Narendra Modi will be the first politician to appear in the conversation, scheduled to be telecast on March 3.
"We have always been focused on making sure that we give people the power to share, and to make the world more open and connected. This and the opportunity to engage actively and regularly with constituents have led campaign teams and leaders to use the medium, making Facebook a core part of the political infrastructure in the country," says Ankhi Das, public policy director, India and South Asia, Facebook.
As per Das, in 2009, the popular vote of the Bharatiya Janata Party was 78 million and that of the Indian National Congress party was 119 million. There were hardly any people using Facebook at that time in India. That has now changed and more than 93 million people in India engage actively every month on Facebook.
Describing the platform in an official note, Facebook says that social engagement is at the core of the platform. This is also an opportunity to engage actively and regularly with constituents and leaders, making Facebook a core part of the political infrastructure in the country. An independent 2013 study by IRIS Knowledge Foundation found that 150 constituencies in the country would be impacted by the Facebook vote.