New Delhi

Association for Democratic Reforms and Facebook launch service that puts election candidates' information on your fingertips

Millions of users will be able to view up-to-date information of candidates running in state assembly and general elections on their mobile phones even if they do not have internet/data plans.

The social networking website and Association for Democratic Reforms (ADR) have partnered to provide information to voters to help them make an informed decision. Voters will be able to access election candidates’ criminal, financial, educational, and professional information via Facebook using USSD technology. USSD is a technology that nearly majority of GSM phones are equipped with to allow text experiences on phones that are richer than SMS and cheaper for the user than mobile Internet.

“Simply voting in an uninformed manner is not enough, citizens need to make an informed choice,” said ADR founder and trustee Prof Trilochan Sastry. “Voters will be able to know the poll worthiness of candidates, their educational, criminal and financial information, at their fingertips and choose wisely.”

The initiative is a concrete example of how social media will be able to impact elections. It combines the strengths of both the partners involved i.e. ADR’s strong experience in electoral research and Facebook’s wide reach and popularity in India. According to Facebook, nearly 82 million Indians access the social networking site regularly. 

“Our goal is to enable citizens to get involved in issues of governance. We are delighted to collaborate with ADR on this important initiative,” said Ankhi Das, public policy director at Facebook India. 

Accessing candidates’ information just got simpler and cheaper 
Users can get information by simply dialing *325*35# on their mobile phones to access the election menu. Alternatively, one can also dial *325# to access Facebook and select the election menu (option 6).

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