MEA rolls out Facebook app integrating 170 Indian missions

The external affairs ministry (MEA) on Thursday launched an app that brings websites and different social media handles of more than 170 Indian missions on a common platform to increase its public outreach. The app was developed in cooperation with Facebook and is meant to help people connect with Indian missions operating abroad and the Ministry of External Affairs through different social media platforms without accessing individual websites.

External Affairs Ministry Spokesperson Vikas Swarup said that this app is a one-stop shop to locate social media handles of all Indian missions abroad. Ankhi Das, Public Policy Director at Facebook for India and South and Central Asia, said no “terrorist contents” are allowed by Facebook. Complementing the External Affairs Ministry for this kind of an outreach, she also said Facebook has made the app for free.

Currently, Twitter has over 165 Indian missions and posts, and Facebook has 172, while 124 have their websites, and many of them have their YouTube channels. Instead of searching for websites individually, Facebook pages and Twitter accounts of individual missions, people can just tap on the map of the country and see all social media platforms of the mission as they are flashed on the screen.

The app that is hosted on Facebook pages of MEA and Indian Diplomacy will allow people in distress to contact people without any hassle. It is also in tandem with the activism that India’s Foreign Minister has shown on Twitter. She reaches out to people who send out their messages on a daily basis. The MEA employs these platforms (Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Instagram, Google Plus, Soundcloud, Flickr) to connect with people as part of its social media engagement program.

Ankhi Das from Facebook India said the launch of the app is a good example of “consumerization of foreign policy.”

Talking about the outreach of Facebook, she said that the website gets 100 million hours of video every day, and the average number of posts is an astounding 2.3 trillion. She also said that Facebook has over 155 million users in India.

Such a massive outreach by the ministry is bound to have some positive results. With acts of racism constantly on the rise across the world, this could be a major step forward in helping Indians deal better with it. Other issues relating to passports or other travel documents can also now be expected to be resolved quickly. This step sure appears promising on paper.