EC to meet social media representatives March 19, take stock of poll preparedness

NEW DELHI: The Election Commission of India will meet representatives of several social media firms on Tuesday following the implementation of Model Code of Conduct ahead of Lok Sabha 2019 election.

According to reports, intermediaries of Facebook, WhatsApp, Twitter and other platforms are expected to meet members of the poll panel to update on steps taken by them in the poll atmosphere.

The meeting comes a day after the EC told the Bombay High Court that its new directions imposing several prohibitions on political advertisements and other advertisements concerned with “national interest” will be finalised and implemented, reported news agency PTI. It will further issue directions prohibiting all social media platforms from displaying political advertisements not pre-verified by it.

The model code of conduct for Lok Sabha election 2019 came into force on Sunday, March 10, after the Election Commission (EC) announced the dates for General Election.

The same day, the EC announced that social media platforms will deploy “appropriate fact checkers” to scan fake news and tackle the use of abusive language. Briefing the media, Chief Election Commissioner Sunil Arora said the social media companies have created a system to accept only pre-certified political ads during the poll process and will share the expenditure incurred in this regard with election authorities.

“(The) platforms are already taking action against fake accounts, spam by deploying fact checkers,” he said.

All social media platforms have also agreed to establish quick response priority channels for the EC, along with appointing grievance officers for the election.

Indian national election 2019 is scheduled to be held in seven phases from April 11 to May 19. The results will be announced on May 23