Friday, September 25, 2020
Home Lead Story 'Social Media Should be Restricted Before Elections Start in India'

‘Social Media Should be Restricted Before Elections Start in India’

There are over 30 crore monthly active users on Facebook and more than 20 crore on WhatsApp in India

There are over 30 crore monthly active users on Facebook and more than 20 crore on WhatsApp in India. Even the Narendra Modi app alone can reach 1 crore people in a day.

With such a wide reach, should social media platforms be made to censor political content 48 hours ahead of polling as part of the strategy to maintain the so called “campaign silence”?

“Today, when social media is increasingly one of the most significant factors for impacting the electoral decisions of voters, it is important that the Election Commission take adequate steps to maintain campaign silence,” Pavan Duggal, one of the nation’s top cyber law experts, told IANS.

While the Election Commission of India recognises the impact social media can have on voters ahead of voting, the current legislation does not bar these platforms – many of which now allow live video streaming services — from blocking political ads or propaganda.

These platforms can decide to do so voluntarily, but how effective such a measure would be remains doubtful.

elections in india, vote
Election Commission of India recognises the impact social media can have on voters ahead of voting, the current legislation does not bar these platforms. Pixabay

In fact, in response to a petition to restrain any political advertisements, videos or messages before elections, Facebook last month told the Bombay High Court that it would not self-censor any content on its site.

It also raised practical difficulties of implementing such a rule as elections in different parts of India are held on different dates and often spread over a week.

The Election Commission last year formed a committee to review this section so that maintaining campaign silence can be made effective in the changed circumstances where social media yields considerable influence. The committee submitted its recommendation earlier this year.

A query to the poll panel on how it plans to stop social media platforms from broadcasting campaign material ahead of polling went unanswered.

“The Election Commission does not need to be a silent spectator,” Duggal said.

“The Election Commission should invoke the provisions of the specific liability of the service providers in their capacity as intermediaries under the Information Technology Act, 2000,” he said.

indian elections, voting
In fact, in response to a petition to restrain any political advertisements, videos or messages before elections, Facebook last month told the Bombay High Court that it would not self-censor any content on its site. Pixabay

A parliamentary panel earlier this month raised grave concerns regarding Facebook’s ability to prevent misuse of its platform during the upcoming Lok Sabha elections and to proactively help the security agencies.

The social media company admitted it doesn’t “always get it right” regarding content moderation on its platform.

ALSO READ: Now, Youtube Stories to Have AR Effect Tools with Google’s Help

Last month, Colin Crowell, Global Vice President of Public Policy of Twitter, deposed before the BJP MP Anurag Thakur-led panel and discussed how it would address issues such as political bias and manipulation on its platform in real-time.

With threats of foreign interference in Indian elections and spread of fake news on social media looming large, specific, detailed, deterrent legal and penal consequences need to be specifically elaborated in the Act so as to provide criminal, legal and penal liability of the various social media platforms, Duggal informed. (IANS)

STAY CONNECTED

19,140FansLike
362FollowersFollow
1,776FollowersFollow

Most Popular

People Avoid Masks Due to Breathing Problems: Study

When it came to non-compliance towards covering the face, breathing problems have emerged as a key reason, with 50 percent listing it in a...

Women More Vulnerable to Uncurbed Diabetes

Traditionally, women play the role of caregivers in India when it comes to families and their health. They prioritize the health of their loved...

Australia Rescuing Helpless Beached Whales

Rescuers of Australia are trying to save scores of beached whales on the shore in the state of Tasmania. Earlier this week, a pod...

Hydroponic Farm Method Making its way in India

The rows of lettuce, microgreens, and herbs that Himanshu Aggarwal and his mother grow in an enclosed room in a busy New Delhi market...

Walmart Aims for Zero Global Emissions by 2040 

U.S.-based retail giant Walmart has unveiled new initiatives to reduce its global carbon footprint while preserving the world’s natural land and sea habitats. The company...

NASA Unveils Plan to Land First Woman on the Moon in 2024

The U.S. National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) has unveiled a plan to land the first woman on the moon in 2024. NASA Administrator Jim...

42% of Indian Workers Use Personal Devices to Access Corporate Data

As the lines between work and home life get increasingly blurred, 42 per cent of workers in India are using personal devices to access...

Karan Kundra: Drugs are the Choice of an Individual, Not of an Industry

BY ARUNDHUTI BANERJEE Popular television actors Karan Kundra and Yogita Bihani feel the constant negative narratives that are lately doing the rounds about the entertainment...

Recent Comments