Poll Body To Meet Country Heads Of Social Media Platforms Over Fake News

The Election Commission wants social media platforms to voluntary undertake information education and communication for their users about "unlawful conduct during election and in particular during prohibited period of 48 hours.

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WhatsApp has more than 200 million users in India - its biggest market.


New Delhi: 

In its latest move to fight fake news before the national elections that begin next month, the Election Commission has asked the country heads of six social media platforms for a meeting. The Election Commission has asked representatives of Facebook, WhatsApp, Twitter, Google, Sharechat and Tiktok to meet it on Tuesday.

The election body has laid out a six-point agenda for the meeting that includes "evolving mechanism by the social media platforms to prevent abuse on their platforms" and pre-certification of all political advertisement on social media platforms by the Media certification & Monitoring committee (MCMC) of the Election Commission.

The Election Commission also wants social media platforms to voluntary undertake information education and communication for their users about "unlawful conduct during election and in particular during prohibited period of 48 hours." It also wants the adoption of a general Code of Ethics by social media intermediaries.

Social media has become a hotbed for circulation of fake political news and tech firms face intense scrutiny ahead of polls.

Facebook last month expanded its local fact-checking network and also introduced stricter rules for political advertisements in India.

WhatsApp, which has more than 200 million users in India - its biggest market - has also introduced product changes and undertaken roadshows after false, incendiary messages circulated on it, fanning communal tensions and sparking mob violence.

Twitter too has overhauled policies to boost transparency and rein in misinformation.

Alphabet's Google has launched a programme to train journalists in areas such as online verification and fact checking before the polls.

The seven-phase polls national election will start April 11 and continue till May 19. Votes will be counted on May 23.

With inputs from Reuters



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