The Election Commission of India on met representatives of social media platforms and the Internet and Mobile Association of India (IAMAI) which is representing Facebook, Twitter, Google, WhatsApp and ShareChat regarding the use of social media ahead of the Lok Sabha Elections.
Internet and Mobile Association of India had agreed to come up with a ‘Code of Ethics’ for social media platforms laying down operational details.
The meeting revolved around unresolved questions related to the violative social media content during the Lok Sabha elections, including the pre-certification process for political advertisements and the time limit for them to act on complaints.
Chief Election Commissioner (CEC) Sunil Arora said the model code of conduct was a unique document prepared through consensus between the political parties and the poll panel.
“It is followed by all political parties from the date of declaration of schedule of elections till the election process is concluded,” he said.
A statement issued by the EC said the meeting also discussed evolving a ‘notification’ mechanism by social media platforms for acting upon the violations of Section 126 of R.P. Act, 1951 and preventing misuse of these platforms.
Chief Election Commissioner Sunil Arora referred to the model code of conduct and urged social media representatives to come up with a code similar to it. He said the code would be used for the ongoing election process in the “immediate context” and would be a lasting document in the long run.
They also discussed ways to curb fake news, improve transparency in political parties’ expenditure on online advertising and set up a dedicated grievance channel for expeditious action by organisations on reported violations.
Among other measures, the poll body suggested that social media platforms voluntarily inform users about the consequences of indulging in unlawful conduct during the elections
. The participants also discussed the formation of a “notification” mechanism to flag violation of Section 126 of the Representation of the People Act-1951, which prohibits advertising and campaigning on the electronic media during the 48-hour “silent period” before voting day.