EC Asks Facebook To Block Ads 48 Hours Before Polling

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The Election Commission has asked Facebook to examine blocking of political advertisement during the last 48 hours before elections in the country, a request the social media giant hasn’t responded to as yet, but is examining.

Facebook representative agreed to examine providing a window or button on the Facebook page for flagging complaints about violation of election laws, according to minutes of the meeting reviewed by PTI.

The representative also agreed to examine if the number of Facebook reviewers attending to complaints against content posted by users can be increased from current 7,500 persons. The number, he said, could be augmented during election period if the need arises.

Section 126 of the Representation of the People prohibits displaying any election matter by means, inter alia, of television or similar apparatus, during the period of 48 hours before the hour fixed for conclusion of poll in a constituency.

The official of social media giant at the meeting stated that complaints can be lodged against the ‘content’ on the Facebook and these are reviewed as per the global community standards. “If content is found to be violating the community standards, it will be taken off,” he stated, according to the minutes of the meeting.

Action would be promptly taken if a complaint was made by the Commission or its machinery about violation of any provision of the law in regard to “content on Facebook”.
“In such cases, action will be with regard to violation of the law and not merely based on the global community standards. There is a policy of taking special care during elections,” he told the meeting.

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