Saturday , September 18 2021

EC to formulate code for social media platforms which collaborate with it: Report

New Delhi: Social media platforms which collaborate with the Election Commission will now have to follow a ‘code of conduct’. PTI quoted sources in the poll panel as saying on Wednesday that the body’s social media unit had met on Tuesday and decided to draft the ‘code of conduct’.

The platforms which do not follow the proposed code will not get to partner with the EC. The decision was taken in the aftermath of the Cambridge Analytica episode.

The new move is to ensure that their user data remains protected from manipulation which could adversely affect elections.

Observing that utilisation of social media cannot be stopped due to instances of “aberrations”, Chief Election Commissioner OP Rawat had said on Tuesday that Facebook would remain the poll panel’s social media partner during the Karnataka Assembly elections. He had also said the social media cell of the EC would go into the issue of App of politicians and political parties sharing user data without the users’ consent.

“Any aberration won’t stop the use of modern technology… Banks frauds have taken place, but we don’t stop banking,” Rawat had told a press conference while announcing the Karnataka assembly poll schedule.

He was asked if the Facebook would continue to be the EC’s social media partner in the wake of reports that its user data had been harvested by a company without the users’ consent.

The CEC said that the social media is a reality and the EC will take all precautions at its command, to prevent episodes which adversely affect Indian elections.

A former employee of Cambridge Analytica turned whistleblower Christopher Wylie said on Wednesday that the controversial British firm had an Indian arm and conducted election research on behalf of some political parties, among other things.

He said that SCL Group, the parent organisation of Cambridge Analytica, has its office headquartered in Indirapuram in Ghaziabad and its regional offices in Ahmedabad, Bengaluru, Cuttack, Guwahati, Hyderabad, Indore, Kolkata, Patna and Pune.

Wylie has also accused the controversial UK-based firm of gathering the details of 50 million users on Facebook through a personality quiz in 2014. He alleges that because 270,000 people took the quiz, the data of some 50 million users, mainly in the US, was harvested without their explicit consent via their friend networks.

Wylie claims the data was sold to Cambridge Analytica, which then used it to psychologically profile people and deliver material in favour of Donald Trump during the 2016 US presidential elections. He also criticised Cambridge Analytica for running campaigns in “struggling democracies”, which he called “an example of what modern-day colonialism looks like”.

Cambridge Analytica denies any of the data acquired was used as part of the services it provided to the Trump campaign.

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