Thanks to the upcoming general elections, all of our social media stream is full of paid hashtags and campaigns. India’s election watchdog has now shared a model code of conduct that parties and candidates need to abide by for campaigns on social media and the Internet.
The commission has broadly classified social media as collaborative projects like Wikipedia, blogs and microblogs, content communities, social networking sites like Facebook and virtual game world.
Candidates contesting elections in India will also have to provide details of their social media accounts along with the affidavits they file to the Election Commission, according to the latest guidelines issued by the Election Commission of India. The format is:
“My contact telephone no.(s) is/are…………………., my email ID (if any) is ………………., and my social media accounts (if any) are…………………………..”
The commission said that parties should also submit an expense statement which details its expenditure on election campaign through advertisement on social media.
Payments made to internet companies and websites for carrying advertisements and campaign related operational expenditure to create content, wages paid to the social media team etc should be part of the statement.
What About Content Posted By Others ?
As far as the content posted by persons other than candidates and political parties is concerned, the Commission is considering the matter in consultation with the Ministry of Communication and Information Technology on practical ways to deal with the issue, in so far as they relate to, or can be reasonably connected with, the election campaigning of political parties and candidates.
Full guidelines here