Amid Political Charges, Can Social Media Election Code Stop Fake News?

The Aam Aadmi Party which raised a complaint 10 days ago over an image insulting Delhi Chief Minister on social media websites said no action has been taken so far.

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A tweet allegedly spreading fake news against Arvind Kejriwal has been retweeted more than 4,000 times.


New Delhi: 

For nearly two weeks now, an image insulting Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal thanks to a crude misspelling has been on the Twitter profile of Delhi BJP leader Vijender Gupta despite many pointing out that the text on the poster is photoshopped.

The Aam Aadmi Party which raised a complaint 10 days ago, calling it an example of fake news that violates the guidelines voluntarily adopted by Twitter and other social media platforms ahead of the Lok Sabha elections, said no action has been taken so far.

The tweet has been retweeted more than 4,000 times since it was posted on March 9.

Vivek Gupta, a member of AAP's social media cell is worried.

"Vijender Gupta's tweet is the latest example of fake news. Everyone knows that he has photoshopped an AAP poster, but the challenge is that it has reached out to over a million followers. It is making an impact that we least expect," he said.

The Election Commission has refused to comment on the post.

When contacted, Twitter's response was generic.

"Our focus is on product, policy and enforcement innovations to address the behaviours which distort and detract from the public conversation on Twitter. For example, updating and expanding our Rules to better reflect how we identify fake accounts, and the types of inauthentic activity violate our guidelines; and continuing to aggressively address spam and other forms of platform manipulation," it said.

Cybersecurity expert Amit Dubey, who is working with the Election Commission, pointed to a challenge in taking action against the tweet. "At an individual level, if something is going viral, you can't block such a post." That would amount to quelling freedom of speech.



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