Social media platforms to follow ‘code of ethics’ in all future polls

Election Commission, Social media, Social media regulation
The code aims at facilitating transparency in paid political advertisements on social media platforms (iStock)

In all future elections including the October 21 Assembly polls in Maharashtra and Haryana, social media platforms including Facebook, WhatsApp and Twitter will follow the “voluntary code of ethics” that acts against paid political campaigns that violates the Election Commission (EC) norms.

The EC on Thursday (September 26) said that the social media platforms have agreed to follow the code of ethics, reported news agency PTI. This is the first time the companies voluntarily adopted the norms for online election campaigns, it said.

“Internet and Mobile Association of India (IAMAI) on behalf of its members has agreed to observe the voluntary code of ethics during all future elections, including the ongoing general elections to the Haryana and Maharashtra Legislative Assemblies and various by-elections being held simultaneously,” the EC said in a statement.

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The statement added that the social media platforms will “voluntarily undertake information, education and communication campaigns to build awareness including electoral laws and other related instructions.” They will also ensure that all political advertisements on their platforms are pre-certified from the Media Certification and Monitoring Committees as per the directions of Hon’ble Supreme Court, it said.

The code of ethics had come into force on March 20 this year ahead of Lok Sabha elections. It aims at acting against paid advertisements that violate the EC norms. During this year’s Parliamentary election, the social media platforms had taken action on 909 violative cases reported by the EC.

Further, the code bars political campaigns on social media platforms during the last 48 hours before polling ends or the ‘silence period’. It also aims at facilitating transparency in paid political advertisements.

(With inputs from agencies)

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