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Facebook launches election tracker but it does very little

Facebook LogoFacebook has set up an election tracker in the form of an app that lets you view the most discussed politicians and parties on the social network. It also lets you vote on the issue (education, jobs, health, corruption) you feel is the most relevant for this election.

The social network had announced earlier that it’ll live stream talks with politicians such as Mamata Banerjee, Akhilesh Yadav and Lalu Prasad Yadav in association with NewsLaundry and NDTV. The first talk in the series was with Arvind Kejriwal, last night. BJP’s Prime Ministerial candidate Narendra Modi was also supposed to be part of the talk, but he backed out a couple of days back.

facebook_election2Issues with the approach

– The main problem with this app is that, Facebook is not incorporating the historical data it has on these politicians. The graph showing the popularity of parties and leaders on Facebook, only use data for the past one week. Why not display the number of times their names were mentioned in the past one year or more and then juxtapose it with possible news that could have caused their names to be mentioned that many times?

– The context in which their names are mentioned is missing. For example, a lot of people were praising Arvind Kejriwal for the number of seats they managed to win in Delhi elections, but a lot of people were criticizing him for protesting on Delhi streets after being in power. There is a need to differentiate good and bad mentions instead of saying that one party or person was mentioned so many times.

– It feels like an afterthought at best. Look at the page Facebook created for the 2012 US elections: it is elaborate and yet presents tons of data in a snapshot. Is it because Google is also doing a very average job with the elections page for India and there is no real need for Facebook to offer something special?

– It’s not clear on what basis Facebook has selected these politicians for the talks or why stats for other parties and politicians are not presented in the app. It is possible that Facebook decided to showcase only politicians who agreed to come on the livestream hosted by Facebook.

What about past tie-ups? Facebook had tied-up with ADR to provide ‘Know Your Neta’ service on mobiles for free. So why not use the same data in this page too?

P.S.: What’s with the hodge-podge design of the app?

Also read: Why Facebook isn’t the best platform for election campaigning

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