TikTok to Elections: EC seeks fake news action plan from FB, Whatsapp, Twitter, Google and others

Election Commissioner Ashok Lavasa suggested that a clear clause on users’ voluntarily agreeing not to misuse social media platforms for poll or political purposes should be considered.

Published: 20th March 2019 03:01 AM  |   Last Updated: 20th March 2019 01:47 PM   |  A+A-

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For representational purposes

Express News Service

NEW DELHI: As the nation inches towards the much-awaited Lok Sabha elections, the Election Commission has asked social media companies and platforms to come up with an action plan to quell the menace of fake news.

The meeting was attended by the industry head Internet and Mobile Association of India (IAMAI) and representatives from social media organizations such as Facebook, Whatsapp, Twitter, Google, ShareChat, TikTok and BigoTV.

The Commission also asked the companies for a detailed plan on how advertisements on social media platforms can be certified and the misuse of these platforms stopped 48 hours before polling.

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The EC was also concerned about transparency in an expenditure of political advertisements through social media platforms.

“Pre-certification and transparency in an expenditure of political advertisements were one of the main issues in the meeting,” said an EC official.

CEC Sunil Arora said that the Model Code of Conduct is followed by all political parties and he exhorted the social media organizations, who are formidable force-multipliers, to come up with similar code for the ongoing poll process in the immediate context and a lasting document in the long run. IAMAI and social media intermediaries agreed to come up with a ‘Code of Ethics’ laying down operational details by Wednesday.

Election Commissioner Ashok Lavasa suggested that a clear clause on users’ voluntarily agreeing not to misuse social media platforms for poll or political purposes should be considered.

The wish list:

  •  EC has sought a detailed operational plan from social media organisations
  •  Clamp down on fake news
  •  Ads on social media to be pre-certified with transparency maintained
  •  Stop misuse of these platforms 48 hours before polling begins
  •  Appointment of dedicated grievance channel for expeditious action
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