Elections 2014: Facebook hosting town halls online for voters in Amritsar, Varanasi and Vadodara

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Elections 2014: Facebook hosting town halls online for voters in Amritsar, Varanasi and Vadodara
As the nation goes to polls for the 16th Lok Sabha elections on April 7, Facebook will be starting Season 2 of its Facebook Talks with the event Election Wash with Madhu Trehan. These Talks are a digital town hall where all people can share their views and questions, and post video entries. The people in the constituencies that Facebook will visit can watch the events in person, but the video from these gatherings will also be available online. Scheduled to begin from April 11, this will take place in Amritsar, Varanasi and Vadodara.

Writing about it in a post Ankhi Das, Public Policy Director, Facebook India, says "We are going back to the core principles of the Founding fathers and taking the show to the people in some important constituencies." In association with Newslaundry, local Facebook communities in the three cities will post short video entries for selection to be on the citizen panel for the townhalls, which will start from April 11.

This is the second edition of Facebook Talks - the first edition focussed on telling people about the importance of voting and getting them to register to vote. A study by IRIS Knowledge Foundation which was supported by the Internet Mobile Association - "Social Media & Lok Sabha Elections", found out that there are 160 High Impact Constituencies out of the total of 543 constituencies, which will be influenced by the social media, which is why Facebook sees this as an important initiative.

Facebook is not alone in building out tools for the upcoming elections. Google has launched an election hub, which contains a lot of useful information for voters as well. Aside from that, there are also a lot of websites that have come up which focus on giving useful information about parties, politicians and policies which could be very helpful in helping people to make informed decisions.

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