Facebook to provide information on Indian election candidates via mobiles

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Facebook to provide information on Indian election candidates via mobiles
Voters can now get to know about the background of candidates contesting Assembly and Lok Sabha elections on their mobile phones as Association for Democratic Reforms (ADR) and Facebook have joined hands to provide the information on candidates for free.

Voters will be able to access election candidates' criminal, financial, educational, professional information directly on their mobile via Facebook using USSD technology, a joint statement said.

Facebook for USSD is a technology that helps people access Facebook on phones without Internet.

USSD allows text experiences on phones that are richer than SMS and cheaper for the user than mobile Internet.

Users have to do is dial *325# from their mobile to access Facebook and select the election menu or directly dial *325*35# to access the election menu for no charge, it added.

"Over 82 million Indian citizens access Facebook regularly and an increasing number of users access the platform on mobile. Together with ADR...we hope to make information more readily available to users about the antecedents and performance of political candidates," Facebook India Director of Public Policy Ankhi Das said.

Das added the goal is to enable citizens to get involved in issues of governance.

"Voters will be able to know the poll worthiness of candidates - their educational, criminal and financial information - at their fingertips and choose wisely. Simply voting in an uninformed manner is not enough, citizens need to make an informed choice," Association for Democratic Reforms Founder and Trustee Trilochan Sastry said.

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