As India polls, Snapchat woos first-time voters with new feature powered by ECI

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New Delhi | Published: April 11, 2019 11:59:43 AM

Snapchat’s focus on India began after the messaging app’s global user base dived; the platform lost 3 million users in the first leg of 2018

Snapchat app that lets its users send the ephemeral photo and video messages – announced on Wednesday that the messaging app will now guide users to resources provided by the Election Commission of India. This comes a day before the first phase of 2019 Lok Sabha elections starts.

Beginning 28 March, Indian users received a message from ‘Team Snapchat’ and also had access to filters prompting them to check their online voter roll before the deadline. From 10 April, Snapchat users will start getting a message which will prompt them to look up when their Lok Sabha constituency goes to polls. The messaging app will also send a Snap in each state which includes a link to polling location information which is hosted on the Electoral Commission of India’s official portal.

Besides these reminders, Snapchat said that the company has also rolled out a variety of creative tools that include filters, lenses, Bitmoji, stickers, and snap map integration, particularly for the elections this year. This will enable the Snapchat users to use filters and lenses to share their take on issues related to the elections with friends.

New feature for Lok Sabha elections

The company has introduced a new feature called Snap Map which allows users to share their location on the app itself. This will be a new way for the Indian community to check their online voter roll and also check when their state constituency is going to polls, encouraging the users to vote with a link to the polling location as well.

Moreover, Snapchat in partnership with YLAC India (Young Leaders for Active Citizenship) is organising a geo-filter competition in a bid to encourage voter engagement along with expression for the state elections in Delhi and Mumbai.

Furthermore, the platform in collaboration with news media and content partners like The Wire, HuffPost India and Brut India which will be providing curated shows, stories and providing election coverage along with analysis. These will also capture on-ground voter sentiment in the country.

Snapchat’s user base in India

It is important to note that Snapchat does not have a consequential share of the country’s nearly half-a-billion internet user base, which is mainly grabbed by Google and Facebook. Snapchat has rolled out four local languages including Hindi, Punjabi, Marathi and Gujarati, localised filters, lenses, along with stickers on popular festivals like Holi, and for IPL teams in a bid to attract woo more users in the country.

Snapchat’s focus on India began after the messaging app’s global user base dived; the platform lost 3 million users in the first leg of 2018, as per reports. This was when Facebook rolled out Snapchat’s flagship feature ‘Stories’ into all the platform it owns including Instagram, Facebook, WhatsApp and Messenger. The company is also facing cut-throat competition from the Chinese app, TikTok which has garnered immense popularity in the country in a short span of time.

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