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Last Updated : Mar 16, 2019 07:35 AM IST | Source:

Explained | Battleground social media: Election Commission to play referee

Watch the video to know about the Election Commission's basic guidelines for the use of social media by 2019 candidates and parties.

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With increased internet penetration in the country, the reach of online political campaigning is also rising. With this, the concern of unmonitored online campaigning, paid political advertisements and spreading of political misinformation has also risen.

Now, with the announcement of the 2019 Lok Sabha Poll dates, the Election Commission has announced basic guidelines for the use of social media by 2019 candidates and parties which includes pre-certification of ad. This means Google, Facebook, Twitter and YouTube will run only pre-certified ads. Bulk SMSs and voice messages on the phone will also require pre-certification.

Political parties will have to share expenditure details for online campaigning with the Election Commission and political candidates will also be required to share details of their social media accounts with India's election authorities.


The Model Code of Conduct including the 48-hour 'silence period' will be applicable to social media campaigning as well, and the C-Vigil app will allow citizens to report violations confidentially.

These guidelines are to be followed by a more detailed Code of Conduct which is being prepared by the Election commission in consultation with social media companies and the Internet and Mobile Association of India.

Meanwhile, social media companies are also taking steps to check misconduct. WhatsApp is using artificial intelligence to detect and ban accounts that spread problematic content, Facebook is labelling political advertisements and partnering with Indian fact-checkers, and Twitter has announced similar initiatives to crack down on "bad-faith actors".

It remains to be seen, however, if the detailed Code of Conduct by the Election Commission, will be issued prior to 2019 polls, and whether it will deal adequately with issues that are unique to social media. These issues can include artificial boosting of profiles, artificially creating negative responses to opponents, manipulating public opinion via data analytics, etc.

Watch the video for more.

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First Published on Mar 16, 2019 07:34 am
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