How big data has transformed India’s Election
Posted on 15 May 2019

Pratham Mittal of the Neta App says of the 90 crore voters in India, around 54 crore are unique mobile phone users who have Facebook and WhatsApp accounts, quoting a McKinsey report. “An analysis shows around 30% of the total voters can be influenced with the use of social media in these elections,” Mittal says. 

The ongoing Lok Sabha polls may or may not be an election for a new India, but they certainly are an election that’s about Big Data and its consorts — algorithms, analytics and artificial intelligence (AI). They are invisible but everywhere, creating endless patterns of political messaging around you by relentlessly tracking and decoding your online activity. In election season, when the neta wants to be in your head, this Big Data is worth its gigabytes in gold because it allows customised campaigns, just like targeted ads. 

For example, if you have interacted with BJP posts of late, the algorithm would know if the nationalism message is for you. Similarly, how you react to Congress’ pet issues would tell the AI whether you like NYAY. 

The Neta App, founded in January 2018 by Pratham Mittal, currently has a 55-member team. It allows users to rate and review their MPs and MLAs, handy data for political parties. The company says in the Karnataka elections, 90% of candidates who won were also rated highest on the app.

Vidooly’s analytics, meanwhile, tell them which political videos are gaining maximum traction, which it then shares with advertisers. “Our current study shows UP, Maharashtra and West Bengal see maximum consumption of political videos. And FMCG is the biggest investor in advertisements,” says Subrata Kar, founder of Vidooly.