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Twitter and Koo adopt certain measures ahead of multiple assembly elections in India

The social media platforms have braced for the upcoming polls by agreeing to a set of rules and launching specific initiatives.

Ahead of state assembly elections in Goa, Manipur, Punjab, Uttar Pradesh, and Uttarakhand, social media platforms Twitter and Koo have adopted specific measures in order to dispel misinformation and help users in finding credible information.

While Twitter, in a press release, said that it has come up with a dedicated search prompt wherein one can find poll-related information (among other things), the homegrown micro-blogging platform has adopted a code of ethics that’s centered on elections, as per a New Indian Express report.

In the past, social media platforms have been widely criticised for the spread of election-related misinformation and its use by political parties to target users.

Koo adopts code of ethics drawn up by IAMAI

The code that’s been adopted by Koo was created by the Internet and Mobile Association of India (IAMAI) ahead of the 2019 general elections and was presented to the Election Commission of India, the platform said. Here’s a brief summary of what the code comprises —

  • Notification mechanism for ECI to report violations to platforms: Platforms have to develop a notification mechanism for the ECI to legally notify them of potential violations of Section 126 of the Representation of the People Act, 1951 and other electoral laws.
  • Action within 3 hours for violations of the 48-hour silent period: For reported violations of Section 126 of the RP Act – which prohibits political parties and candidates from campaigning in the two days before voting – platforms will acknowledge and/or process these legal orders within 3 hours (as per the Sinha Committee recommendations).
  • Pre-certification for political advertisers: The code requires platforms to provide a method for political advertisers to submit pre-certificates issued by ECI or its Media Certification & Monitoring Committee (MCMC) for running election-related ads.
  • Communication between the ECI, IAMAI, and platforms: Platforms will update the ECI (via the IAMAI) on measures they have taken to prevent abuse of their platforms, pursuant to legal requests by the ECI.
  • Awareness and education campaigns: The members will carry out information, education, and communication campaigns to build awareness of electoral laws and other related instructions.
  • Training nodal officers: Platforms will train their nodal officers to the ECI on their products, and on the mechanism for sending requests to the platforms as per the procedure established by law.

Twitter establishes dedicated search prompt, voter education quiz

In the first line up of initiatives, Twitter will be launching:

  • An emoji, which will further be supported with a notification and reminder mechanism to enable people to voluntarily sign-up for reminders on the day voting starts.
  • Further, a voter education quiz will be started by Twitter.
  • Twitter said that it will also be expanding its dedicated search prompt, powered by the Election Commission of India to provide people with real-time updates and developments on the elections from credible and authoritative sources.

Twitter said that people will be able to sign-up for a reminder notification by ‘Liking’ any campaign tweet and can also choose to opt out at any time by replying to the notification tweet with ‘stop’.

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Among other subjects, I cover the increasing usage of emerging technologies, especially for surveillance in India

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