Party leaders take General Election debate online
The leaders of the three main political parties are to hold the first ever UK digital Q&A with questions fielded over Facebook and YouTube.
Users can post text or video questions to Nick Clegg, David Cameron and Gordon Brown via the sites in five categories – economy, health & education, law and order, foreign policy, and miscellaneous.
A ballot will then decide the two most popular questions in each category – with users able to vote questions up or down on the YouTube and Facebook election sites. The deadline for the questions is 24 April, with the party heads posting video responses on 26 April, ten days before the General Election.
Although the televised debates will be a historic first, we feel that that there is an opportunity for a different type of platform that allows voters to be in charge of the questions
The move has been called “the dawn of the digital election” by Facebook’s director of policy Richard Allen. “By allowing voters to cross-examine their leaders, these digital debates will put the voters firmly in charge. This marks a decisive shift away from the constraints of top-down traditional media.”
While this scheme represents a laudable push by party leaders to connect with digital voters, it’s unlikely to be their sternest test. They’ll have ample time to draft responses to each question, unlike the three live television debates that are due to take place.
Read our coverage of the use of technology in the General Election in this month’s PC Pro – out Thursday.