New Delhi: The Election Commission has received a total of 130 complaints against ‘hate speech’ on various social media platforms during polls in the last few years.
The poll panel data showed that a maximum (59) complaints regarding hate speech on social media platforms were received during the 2019 Lok Sabha polls. Thereafter, a total 34 such cases were reported during the 2020 Delhi Assembly polls.
In 2021, total 29 cases of hate speech on social media platforms were reported to the Commission during the Assam, West Bengal, Tamil Nadu, Kerala, and Puducherry Assembly polls. Similarly, the 2022 Assembly polls of Goa, Manipur, Punjab, Uttarakhand, and Uttar Pradesh saw a total eight such cases being recorded.
Following vigorous persuasion, all the major social media platforms under the aegis of the Internet and Mobile Association of India (IAMAI) came together and mutually agreed upon a “Voluntary Code of Ethics” for the General Elections 2019.
The code, in effect since Lok Sabha Election 2019 and for all Assembly elections held after that, has been developed to ensure free, fair and ethical use of social media platforms and to maintain the integrity of the electoral process. Intermediary platforms have also committed to perform their share of responsibility for voter education and awareness.
The EC, in pursuance of the “Voluntary code of ethics”, has been directing several social media platforms to take down content (links, videos, posts, tweets) found objectionable as per various provisions of the MCC, the RPA, the IPC and other electoral laws during elections.