The Bombay High court on Friday asked the Election Commission of India (EC) to look into reducing the three-hour time span granted to social media intermediaries like Facebook, Google, YouTube and Twitter, to remove content that is likely to affect the elections, during the 48-hour blackout period. The EC was directed to take a decision on this within one week.
Chief Justice Naresh Patil and Justice N M Jamdar was hearing a PIL seeking directions to the EC to restrain any form of advertisement, videos or messages 48 hours before elections. The bench, in its order, said that it accepts the commitments made on affidavits by the intermediaries.
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Facebook, Google and YouTube informed the court that to combat foreign interference, only authorised advertisers will be allowed to purchase political ads during the elections. The counsel for Twitter said that they will not accept any foreign payments for the advertisements.
During the previous hearing, the petitioner’s lawyer, Abhinav Chandrachud, had told court that while the Voluntary Code of Ethics stated that if the EC notifies the intermediaries within the 48-hour period, they will have to remove the content within three hours, but by then the damage will be done.
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