Dissemination of accurate voter profiles created through big data applications is among the biggest challenges before the Election Commission of India, even as misuse of money and media to spread fake news remains a concern, Chief Election Commissioner O P Rawat said on Tuesday.
Delivering the late Rajendra Mathur Memorial lecture organised by Bhaskar group of newspapers, Rawat said, “We can prevent misuse of money in the polling area by deploying preventive surveillance and action teams but one of the major concerns today is misuse of money in engaging some big data companies to create accurate voter profile and then bombarding the voters with the kind of information generated by bots to influence him in voting for a certain individual. This has been witnessed in some developed countries and the EC is majorly concerned about this new phenomenon as deployment of money for such misuse is beyond its control.”
Rawat also cited spread of fake news through all kinds of media platforms as another major concern for the EC. “To curb this menace, we had called media platforms recently and told them that they must prevent the spread of fake news through their platforms after the announcement of elections. They (should also) not allow any election-related material to be disseminated through their platforms in the 48 hours before polling when the campaign ends so the voter can use that quietude of 48 hours to decide,” he said.