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CSR: The Role of Social Media in The Upcoming Elections

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According to Reuters, social media will play a major role in 2019 elections in India. The role of social media including Twitter, Whatsapp and Facebook was noteworthy in the 2014 general elections. With the Congress party all geared up with new energy and social media strategy, these platforms will see even more action this season.

India has about 900 million eligible voters in the country. Of them, about 500 million have access to the internet. Millions of Indians use Twitter. About 300 million citizens are registered on Facebook and 200 million on Whatsapp which is more than any other democracy. According to Counterpoint research, there are 450 million smartphone users in the country this season compared to 155 million in the last election. This is more than the total population of the United States of America.

The numbers have a lot of potential to trigger havoc and abuse through circulation of offending messages which could cause violence and hate crimes. In an effort to control these foreseeable happenings, the government of India is looking for more powerful tools to encourage nationalism and frame a positive narrative about the country ahead of the elections.

According to the official website, India’s Ministry of Information has formulated a tender which says that the government is looking for a company to provide analytical software and a team of at least 20 professionals to “power a real-time New Media Command Room.”

The government wants these professionals to monitor social media platforms such as Twitter, YouTube, LinkedIn and even emails. They are supposed to identify fake news and inject news and social media posts with a positive narrative of the country. The government is seeking a company that has the ability to make accurate predictions about trends, hashtags and topics and monitor individual social media accounts to create archives of conversations.

Data privacy will take a hike for the citizens in the upcoming election, because even if the ruling government does not make this intrusion, the opposition will. The matter of concern is who uses which information in what way. And how badly will the citizens be played.

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Regards,
The CSR Journal Team

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