Amid uproar over data breach at Facebook, IT Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad held discussions with senior ministry officials to explore steps to ensure that consumers data on social media is not misused to influence elections. Sources in the ministry said that the meeting held yesterday with top IT ministry officials lasted for over two hours and deliberated the long-term solutions to address the issue. The IT ministry is looking into the issue of misuse of data, and exploring steps that can be taken to ensure protection of user information against misuse, without curbing the social media offtake in the country.
Earlier this week, Prasad had warned social media giant Facebook of “stringent” action for any attempt to influence polls through data theft, and had even threatened to summon its CEO Mark Zuckerberg, if needed. The warning came as BJP launched a scathing attack on the Congress, questioning the party on its relation with Cambridge Analytica, the data mining firm accused of harvesting personal user data from Facebook illegally to influence polls in several countries.
Facebook, which has over two billion users globally, including over 200 million in India, had faced backlash on the data scandal issue, prompting Zuckerberg to issue an apology for the “major breach of trust”, and promising to take steps to protect user data. Facebook has also tweaked its usage policy for third party apps, including login process, to ensure limited access to user information.