Voluntary Code of Ethics to be observed by social media platforms during elections

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Internet & Mobile Association of India (IAMAI) on behalf of its members has agreed to observe the “Voluntary Code of Ethics” during all future elections including the ongoing General Elections to the Haryana & Maharashtra legislative assemblies and various bye elections being held simultaneously. IAMAI and social media platforms Facebook, Whatsapp, Twitter, Google, Sharechat and TikTok had presented and observed this “Voluntary Code of Ethics” during the General Election to 17thLok Sabha 2019. IAMAI has assured the Commission that the platforms will cooperate in ensuring the conduct of free and fair elections.

As a result of Commission’s vigorous persuasion, all the major social media platforms and IAMAI came together and mutually devised this “Voluntary Code of Ethics” for the General Elections 2019. This came into immediate effect from the day it was presented to the Commission on 20th March, 2019. During the election period,social media platforms took action on 909 violative cases, reported by the ECI.

The highlighted features of “Voluntary Code of Ethics” are as follows:

(i) Social Media platforms will voluntarily undertake information, education and communication campaigns to build awareness including electoral laws and other related instructions.

(ii) Social Media platforms have created a high priority dedicated grievance redressal channel for taking expeditious action on the cases reported by the ECI.

(iii) Social Media Platforms and ECI have developed a notification mechanism by this ECI can notify the relevant platforms of potential violations of Section 126 of the R.P. Act, 1951 and other electoral laws.

(iv) Platforms will ensure that all political advertisements on their platforms are pre-certified from the Media Certification and Monitoring Committees as per the directions of Hon’ble Supreme Court.

(v) Participating platforms are committed to facilitate transparency in paid political advertisements, including utilising their pre-existing labels/disclosure technology for such advertisements.

The text of the Code dated 20th March 2019 alongwith the assurance received now from the IAMAI is linked below.

Click here to see the attachment