Social Media is something you cannot control nowadays; it is like a country with a government needing a dictator. The amount of people on social media causing a ruckus is uncountable but surely controllable. The current election season has also seen a different kind of promotions. There are not a lot of hoardings around on roads with politicians forcefully smiling and looking at you.
This election battle and the campaign tussle are happening online. The parties and the participants in the elections have banners on the social media instead of roads; they are entering your private lives with fake messages and agendas, mentoring your subconscious to vote for them without you knowing it. This is what happened with Donald Trump during 2016 and a similar story could be seen in the 2019 Indian election.
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That being said, the Election Commission of India has been ordered by the Bombay High Court to look after social media campaigns, hate posts along with fake news and misinformed articles and to curb them. Regularly, social media companies like Facebook, Google, and Twitter have a deadline of three hours to take a post down, the petitioner argued that it was too long and the High Court has asked the companies to reduce the takedown time. And the companies have reduced the time from three hours to two hours.
The court said that it had considered the speed at which the news travels and the effect it has. The court then said that the petitioner’s concern cannot be unfounded and said that the Election Commission has to look at this issue. The ECI will have to take the decision for the same, said the court on 29th March.
The ruling read, “Considering the speed at which sometimes information spreads and travels on the Internet (in common parlance – go viral), we cannot say that the concern expressed by the petitioner is entirely unfounded. This issue, however, will have to be looked into by the Election Commission. The Election Commission will take a decision in respect of three hours’ period.”
The Internet and Mobile Association of India, long for IAMAI, is an association which represents the social media companies. IAMAI said that it will comply with the Election Commission of India as it wants good faith between both said that the current time frame is perfect and anything less would just reduce the quality of the procedures carried out.
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The lobby told EC, “IAMAI respectfully submits that in the absence of appropriate provisions for such contingencies, there would be technological and operational impediments to the timely and appropriate review and actioning of valid legal orders; and it would place at risk the ability to apply proper procedures to ensure due process and protect free speech.”
However, the decision has been made and the time is reduced to two hours. Now it will be interesting to see if free speech is maintained or anything hideous will find the bin on the internet.