Lok Sabha Polls: Facebook, WhatsApp, Twitter to act against paid ads violating EC norms

By: |
March 20, 2019 10:41 PM

The platforms have agreed to create a high priority dedicated reporting mechanism for the commission and appoint dedicated teams during the period of elections for taking expeditious action on any reported violations.

code of ethics, Election 2019, Google, Facebook, WhatsApp, Twitter, social media users, fake news, paid advertisementsThe code of ethics has come into force from Wednesday. (Reuters)

Social media platforms such as Facebook, WhatsApp, Twitter and Google have adopted a voluntary code of ethics for the upcoming general elections to act against paid advertisements that violate norms set by the Election Commission. These social media platforms and Mobile Association of India (IAMAI) presented the ‘Code of Ethics’ to Chief Election Commissioner Sunil Arora on Wednesday.

The platforms have agreed to create a high priority dedicated reporting mechanism for the commission and appoint dedicated teams during the period of elections for taking expeditious action on any reported violations. “The Code of Ethics also promises to facilitate transparency in paid political advertisements,” the commission said in a statement.

The ‘Code of Ethics’ has been developed to ensure free, fair and ethical use of social media platforms to maintain the integrity of the electoral process for the Lok Sabha Polls beginning April 11.

In a statement, the IAMAI said that participants and the ECI have developed a notification mechanism by which the commission can notify the relevant platforms of potential violations. “These valid legal orders will be acknowledged and/ or processed within 3 hours for violations reported under Section 126 as per the Sinha Committee recommendations. All other valid legal requests will be acted upon expeditiously by the Participants, based on the nature of the reported violation,” it said.

The mobile association further said that the social media platforms will commit to facilitating transparency in paid political advertisements, including utilising their pre-existing labels/ disclosure technology for such advertisements.

CEC Sunil Arora appreciated the move but said: “The Participants need to follow in letter and spirit the commitments made in the Code of Ethics. ” The code has come into force from Wednesday.

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