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Strengthen social media code to counter paid news: Experts to EC

NEW DELHI: Experts have urged the Election Commission of India to strengthen the social media code to counter the challenge of paid news in the country. The Social media is the biggest challenge to tackle of Model Code of conduct.

Delhi's Chief Electoral Officer Ranbir Singh had emphasized on monitoring of the paid news and campaigning through social media, electronic media and print media.

Singh said there was a need for a system through which issues on social media can come into notice quickly and can be removed within no time. The poll panel held a series of meetings with Internet companies earlier this month and arrived at a code for social media on the lines of MCC. While Internet companies have been prompt in removing violating posts on intimation by the EC, they have, however, been unable to check the menace of misinformation and preventing violations in the first place.

According to reports, the panel discussion on political campaigning on social media and issues of paid news, aired the view that misuse of social media, print media and electronic media by the political parties have marred the campaign for the election.

The experts suggested that there was a need after the 2014 general polls to formulate a policy on the use of social media during the election campaign.

The Internet and Mobile Association of India has developed a voluntary code of ethics for all the participating social media platforms to ensure free, fair and ethical usage of their platform. The cyber space does not conform to the geographic or political boundaries, so the artificial intelligence based engines of the social media players need to use the robust technology to flag such content.

Cyber expert Prashant Mali feels that it is not just the poll panel but also the social media algorithms which have to be responsible for stoppiung such violations.

"The social media companies promised EC that their platforms won't be used for political purposes. If they are not able to stop such things, then it means their algorithms are not mapped to the election code of India," he said.

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