Lok Sabha Elections 2019: Facebook removed 574 posts; Twitter deleted 49 accounts violating Model Code of Conduct

Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and WhatsApp took down content on request by the Election Commission.

While the Lok Sabha elections are underway, the Election Commission of India (ECI) has been proactively incorporating rules to curb any form of ‘political content/advertisements’ during the silent period between the different phases of voting.

Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and WhatsApp were asked by the ECI to remove hundreds of posts and delete numerous accounts that were found breaking the Model Code of Conduct.

Logo of the Twitter and Facebook are seen through magnifier on display in this illustration taken in Sarajevo, Bosnia and Herzegovina, December 16, 2015. Broker's survey shows Twitter losing share to faster growing competitors such as Facebook's Instagram and Snapchat, despite co's multiple product and partnership launches this year, analysts write in note. REUTERS/Dado Ruvic - GF10000268362

Logo of the Twitter and Facebook are seen through magnifier on display. Image: Reuters

An Economic Times report stated that up to 468 takedowns from the social media platforms were found to be spreading political content. The majority of the content taken down was seen as harmful to the spirit of the elections including ‘hate speech’ and ‘voter misinformation’.

Facebook took down 574 posts out of which up to 60 of them had ‘political advertisements’. Additionally, 28 posts ‘offended public morality and decency’, 10 displayed ‘voter misinformation’, six spread ‘hate speech’ or ‘undue influence’ and two violated the model code of conduct. Most of the requests against Facebook were from Telangana.

Majority of the Twitter takedowns had ‘explicit violation’ of the model code. Twitter disabled or deleted 34 out of the 49 accounts or tweets in the first three phases. Among the remaining, eight of them posted political content despite the on-going silent period, five were deemed to be sharing ‘misleading information to voters’ and two of them had ‘hate speech’ against political opponents. The chief electoral officer of Uttar Pradesh had forwarded one of the Twitter complaints.

On YouTube, two videos were deleted that were found ‘propagating hate speech’ and ‘broadcasting political content’ in the silent phase. Three WhatsApp numbers got disabled that were found to be breaking the model code and spreading hate speech.

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