Social Media: Prospect and Challenges

Social media platforms present voluntary ‘code of ethics’

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Mains Paper 2: Governance | Important aspects of governance, transparency & accountability

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important:

Prelims level: Not much

Mains level: Role of social media in manipulating election campaigning


  • Social media platforms and the Internet and Mobile Association of India (IAMAI) have presented a ‘Voluntary Code of Ethics for the General Election 2019’ to the Election Commission.

About the Code

  • This code will become effective and will enter into force on March 20, 2019 and would remain operational during the election.
  • The code’s purpose is to identify measures that the platforms can take to increase confidence in the electoral process.
  • It is also to safeguard against misuse that vitiates the “free and fair character” of the Lok Sabha polls.
  • According to the code, the platforms will endeavour to where appropriate and keeping in mind the principle of freedom of expression,” deploy appropriate policies and processes to facilitate access to information on electoral matters.
  • The platforms will also ensure that political advertisements by parties or their candidates are pre-certified.
  • Campaigns will be organised to create awareness, including on electoral laws and other instructions from the EC.

Notification mechanism

  • The platforms and the Commission have developed a notification mechanism by which the electoral body can notify them of potential violations under Section 126 of the RP Act, and on other matters.
  • These valid legal orders will be acknowledged and/or processed within three hours for violations reported under Section 126 as per the Sinha Committee recommendations (for last 48hrs).
  • All other valid legal requests will be acted upon expeditiously by the participants, based on the nature of reported violation.
  • A high-priority dedicated reporting mechanism is being created for the EC and dedicated persons appointed for the purpose.
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