Following its meeting with representatives of Internet companies on Tuesday, the Election Commission said the Internet and Mobile Association of India (IAMAI) — which is representing Facebook, Twitter, Google, WhatsApp and ShareChat — had agreed to come up with a ‘Code of Ethics’ for social media platforms laying down operational details by Wednesday evening.
The meeting was centred around unresolved questions related to taking down of 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.
“IAMAI and social media intermediaries willingly agreed to come up with a ‘Code of Ethics’ for the Industry laying down operational details by tomorrow evening,” an Election Commission statement said.
Citing the Model Code of Conduct, Chief Election Commissioner Sunil Arora asked the social media organisations to come up with similar code for the ongoing election process. “In fact, more often than not, this Model Code has obviated the need for application of more stringent provisions of law,” Arora said.
Election Commissioner Ashok Lavasa suggested that a clear clause on users’ voluntarily agreeing not to misuse social media platforms for election or political purposes should be considered by the management.
Election Commissioner Shri Sushil Chandra was of the opinion that deterrents, like some punitive action, against users, misusing the platform should be considered pro-actively.
On March 9, the EC said parties and candidates can’t use photos of defence personnel and defence functions for election purposes. Subsequently, Facebook was asked to remove political posters bearing Wg Cdr Abhinandan’s pictures, shared by BJP leaders.