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ECI asks social media firms to follow voluntary code of ethics ahead of state polls: report

Ahead of the state elections, the Election Commission of India (ECI) has reportedly sent letters to the social media companies including Facebook, WhatsApp, Twitter, Google, ShareChat and ByteDance, via IAMAI, to follow the voluntary code of ethics, reports The Economic Times. This 'voluntary' code of ethics was formulated and adopted by the companies during Lok Sabha elections 2019. According to the report, ECI has directed "all social media intermediaries under the umbrella of IAMAI" to follow the voluntary code of ethics for "all future elections". The companies have also been asked to send their agreement with the rule. We have reached out to IAMAI, Twitter, Facebook and Google for comments and will update this when we hear from them. ShareChat and WhatsApp have declined to comment. Although the ECI hasn't announced the election dates, the 5-year terms of state assemblies in Haryana and Maharashtra are set to end in November 2019, Jharkhand in January 2020 and Delhi in February 2020, per the report. ECI and social media cos had come up code of ethics for Lok Sabha Elections In a meeting with the social media firms, Chief Election Commissioner Sunil Arora had then asked the companies to set up a code similar to the Model Code of Conduct for the Lok Sabha 2019 election “in the immediate context” and “a last document in the long run”. The code which came into effect on March 20 prior to the Lok Sabha polls included: Notification mechanism for ECI to report violations to platforms: Platforms have developed…

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