New Delhi. Earlier this week, Facebook launched a new ‘I am a Voter’ button for Indian citizens participating in the elections. This feature will allow voters to indicate the exact time and place from where they cast their vote.
For some selected users, the button will also immediately take a selfie and post to Facebook, our sources exclusively inform us.
Our sources within the Facebook headquarters have further informed us that the company also had plans to launch an ‘I am a Vote Bank’ button, which never got released.
Our trusted source, a product manager who was involved in conceptualizing this feature, mentioned to Faking News that this button was planned to be released two months ago. Users could click the button to register themselves as a vote-bank for all major political parties, and indicate their favorite incentive from a list of cash, liquor, reservation quota, mixer-grinder, or 32 inch LCD TVs.
As soon as a user clicked on this button, a notification email would go to each of the parties and they could arrange for the desired benefit to be delivered, thereby allowing voters to make intelligent choices about which party they wanted to vote for.
The product manager, who only asked to be identified as “GeekGod” but we nonetheless decided to name him in this report keeping with the Facebook privacy policies, mentioned that they had received overwhelming feedback from all political parties during a pilot run.
The parties were very excited that they would be able to cut out the middleman, avoid the hassle of speaking at rallies, and maximize their chances of winning the elections by utilizing this feature to reach out to their vote-banks. Even Flipkart had been signed up to facilitate delivery of the gifts, while cash would have been transferred directly via NEFT transfers.
“Everything was all set,” Amit said with a glum look, “Most major parties had even started sending in their supply of alcohol bottles to Flipkart warehouses for dispatch. Facebook also stood to gain significant revenues because parties would need to pay to reach everybody in their target vote-bank, similar to how their pages reach only a fraction of their followers unless they pay to ‘boost’ their posts.”
Amit further revealed that the vote-bank data with Facebook was perfect because it not only asked religion of the users, it asked people to indicate their castes too in a special feature released only for India.
The only problem was that the feature needed to be approved by the Prime Minister before it could be released. Facebook representatives called up Dr. Manmohan Singh, explained the feature in great detail, and after the hour long demo they asked for his agreement to close the process.
“We waited and waited and waited. Ten minutes. One hour. Two hours. There was no response. He just didn’t speak a word. We took this as his displeasure with our plan and immediately hung up, although many people say that Dr. Singh is simply not interested in the elections at all. Whatever be the truth of Dr. Singh’s lack of interest in elections, our feature got scrapped thereafter,” Amit told us with a shake of his head.
“We had a great opportunity here. This could have been a revolutionary move that could have changed the way elections are run all over the world,” he said before rushing off to attend a conference call.