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Social media companies raise concerns over Election Commission’s voluntary code of ethics

Google, Facebook, and ByteDance (which operates TikTok and Helo) have reached out the Internet and Mobile Association of India (IAMAI) to raise concerns about how to proceed with the voluntary code of ethics set by the Election Commission of India (ECI), for upcoming state elections in Maharashtra, Haryana, Jharkhand, and Delhi, reports The Economic Times. On September 3, ECI had sent letters to the social media companies including Facebook, WhatsApp, Twitter, Google, ShareChat and ByteDance, via IAMAI, to follow the voluntary code of ethics. Following this Google, Facebook, and ByteDance reached out to IAMAI seeking clarity on the same. The ECI has not given any confirmation about when the elections will be held in the poll-bound states. However, 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. IAMAI is finalising a separate takedown process with the ECI for the upcoming state elections, according to ET. These social media companies are concerned that too many takedown notices from multiple officials may cause confusion, as against the centralised process that was followed during the general elections. The technology companies are also worried that ECI might "extend these rules to municipal and panchayat elections as well". Some of the social media companies told IAMAI that restrictions on a political advertisement for 48 hours prior to voting day should be extended to other internet companies and should not only be restricted to them. Also, some of the social media companies want rules to be stricter to…

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