Twitter on Thursday announced a series of initiatives to empower citizens with the right knowledge before they cast their votes in the upcoming Assembly elections in five states.
Assembly elections in Uttar Pradesh, Uttarakhand, Punjab, Manipur and Goa will be held between February 10 and March 7 in seven phases with the counting of votes on March 10. In all, elections will be held for 690 assembly seats, and 18.3 crore people, including 8.5 crore women, will be eligible to cast their votes in the five states.
“Elections are when people come to Twitter to find credible information about voting, to learn about candidates and their manifestos, and to engage in healthy civic debate and conversation. As a service for public conversation, Twitter is committed to enabling people to make informed decisions when exercising their civic rights,” Twitter said in a statement. Twitter’s initiatives, powered by an Open Internet, are directed towards not just ensuring a high voter turnout but also aiding in ensuring voters are involved, engaged and informed throughout the election cycle, it added.
As part of the initiatives, Twitter will launch a customised emoji that will further be supported with a notification and reminder mechanism, which will allow people to voluntarily sign-up for reminders on the day voting starts. Further, a voter education quiz will engage people in Q&As, equipping them with necessary facts about the polls, the statement said. Twitter said it has launched an information search prompt with the Election Commission of India and Chief Electoral Officers to make it easy to find credible and authoritative information for the Assembly elections.
These prompts provide credible, authoritative sources of information when people search with related keywords on Twitter’s Explore page. The prompt will direct people to resources where they can access reliable information about candidate lists, voting dates, polling booths and more. In addition to English, the Search Prompt will be available in Hindi, Punjabi, and Konkani, and will be supported by several hashtags.
Besides, Twitter will be hosting workshops and training sessions for non-profits across the five states, which will be aimed at developing literacy materials and pre-bunks to tackle misinformation around the elections. “… and events of political and civic significance always find a place among the conversations on the service. Public discourse is shaped by these conversations, and we recognise the responsibility that it places on us — to ensure that people are met with reliable and authentic information as they go out to vote,” Twitter India Manager Public Policy and Government Payal Kamat said.
She added that the company has been working in partnership with official authorities, including the Election Commission of India, and will continue to harness the power of the Open Internet to strengthen civic dialogue and encourage quality participation this election season.