BENGALURU : State Election Commission officials are facing a tough time keeping track of messages on social media platforms by political party activists ahead of the November 3 Assembly bypolls.
As a number of complaints over alleged misuse of social media platforms are being filed with the poll panel, Karnataka Chief Electoral Officer Sanjiv Kumar told The New Indian Express that they have a team to monitor the media outlets, including social media.
Though parties and candidates are organising public rallies at Rajarajeshwari Nagar and Sira Assembly constituencies, where the bypolls are being held, there has been a big push for virtual campaigns this time because of Covid-related restrictions for physical rallies.
Sanjiv Kumar said, “If the posts are put up on Facebook or Twitter, they can be monitored. But in many cases, parties and contestants use one-on-one messaging apps, like WhatsApp or Instagram. Such private conversations are difficult to keep track of.” He said that the Election Commission has a C-Vigil app, which can be downloaded by the public.
If people get to know of social media posts where party workers or candidates are trying to woo voters through illegal means, then they can file a complaint through the app. Since it is a real-time app, officials are alerted immediately, he added. Officials can act if the messages or on public platforms, but with one-on-one apps, like Whatsapp, Instagram or any other such platforms, they will have to wait for a complaint from individuals to take action.
On Monday, Janata Dal (Secular) leaders filed a complaint against a Facebook group, Vokkaliga Samithi, for posting a fake message against RR Nagar JDS candidate Krishnamurthy. After it was bought to the notice of Election Commission, a case was registered against the group with the cyber police.