While recognising the role of social media in political mobilisation, two senior Ministers on Thursday discounted its potential in shaping electoral outcomes.

Minister for Telecom and Communications Kapil Sibal and Minister for Information and Broadcasting Manish Tewari said a complex range of issues — not mediums and platforms —shaped voting preferences.

Their comments come in the wake of a recent report that Facebook users could determine electoral outcomes in 160 swing constituencies. These were called ‘high-impact’ seats, where the number of social network users was 10 per cent or more of the voting population, or higher than the margin of victory in the previous election.

“Complex country”

Admitting that the use of social media during the recent popular protests had been a ‘learning experience,’ Mr. Tewari said: “The fact remains that voting preferences are decided on issues. Mediums and platforms are only methods of disseminating your views.” Mr. Sibal concurred and pointed out that India was a “complex” country, the constituencies were “spread out,” and voters tended to look at “several aspects.”

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