The companies will also inform the EC about the expenditure on each political advertisement on their platforms, Chief Election Commissioner O P Rawat said.

Social Media giants such as Facebook and Twitter and internet major Google will assist the Election Commission in ensuring that the purity of polls is not affected during the campaign period, Chief Election Commissioner O P Rawat told PTI on Sunday.

Rawat said a committee under Senior Deputy Election Commissioner Umesh Sinha had called regional and local heads of Google, Facebook and Twitter and had asked what they can do to avoid the adverse impact of fake news and targeted communication to voters during the silence period. The last 48 hours before the elections come to a close is called ‘silence period’ so that voter can calmly decide on as to whom to vote.

“They have all committed that during campaign period, they will not allow anything which is adversely affecting level playing field be allowed on their platforms… during the last 48 hours before the close of poll, they have committed that nothing of elections will be allowed on their platforms,” Rawat told PTI.

Rawat also said a pilot project was tested during the Karnataka elections earlier this year. “Small pilot was there. That was the beginning. Now we will have a bigger pilot before Lok Sabha elections in these four states of Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan, Chhattisgarh and Mizoram,” PTI quoted him as saying.

The companies will also inform the EC about the expenditure on each political advertisement on their platforms, Rawat said.

The panel under Umesh Sinha was set up to explore possible changes in Section 126 of Representation of the People Act, 1951 in view of the expansion and diversity of media platforms.

The section “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”.

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