India's tribal regions using Facebook, WhatsApp to fight corruption

Ahead of federal elections next year, politicians have been embracing social media to their advantage. Now, that same space could be used against them when tribal groups attempt to expose some of their unethical practices.

While Indian politicians have been embracing social media to spread their message ahead of elections, they'll now have to watch out for Indian youth from tribal regions using technology to catch corruption.

Youths are now armed with both Facebook and WhatsApp, are ready to expose how some candidates turn to vote buying, usually 48 hours before elections are held, with unethical practices such as wooing voters with money, mutton, and liquor, reports The Times of India

The tribal youth, operating under the name Tribal Yuva Sakhti, are also involved in a campaign of their own to persuade voters away from enticement and vote in an honest manner instead.

Their strategy is quite simple: if someone sees a candidate behaving in an unethical manner, simple take a picture or make a movie from your mobile device, and upload either the images or videos to social media websites such as Facebook, or circulate it on WhatsApp.

A group of around 1,000 people is going around from village to village in a door to door campaign to also inform and educate votes of the same, and again, the discourage enticement and instead, capture the moment using mobile devices instead. In previous elections, candidates have in fact attempted to lure tribals by voting for them using these unethical methods. At present, almost every house in tribal belts has at least one person who uses the Internet and also has an account on a social media website. Furthermore, most youngsters from tribal areas, who attend college, also have access to both mobile devices, along with online access, and again, social media access too.

Clearly, it's time for a change in the way candidates and politicians attempt to lure tribal votes, especially now that they are also empowered with technology too. However, I wonder how much of a difference a captured, unethical practice would make in terms of votes? If tribal voters are accustomed to being lured for votes, then it's something they are used to. Ultimately, it's for the voters to decide at the end who will earn their vote, but if along the way they have been gifted in one way or another, then their vote is already skewed.

Furthermore, while going viral is a great way to expose those , I feel an even better way would be for people to directly send pictures or videos to an election board or committee within the Indian government directly. At least this way, there would be some form of reprimand from higher authorities, because let's be frank, uploaded images and videos won't do much unless addressed by those who have the power to make a difference .