Work was “done across dozens of teams, both in India and around the globe, and began more than 18 months ago with a detailed planning and risk assessment across our platforms. The findings allowed us to concentrate our work on key areas, including blocking and removing fake accounts; fighting the spread of misinformation; stopping abuse by domestic actors; spotting attempts at foreign meddling; and taking action against inauthentic coordinated campaigns,” said Facebook’s Managing Director and Vice-President, India, Ajit Mohan, in a Facebook blog.
As part of its work with the Election Commission (EC), Mohan said Facebook had created a training process to help policymakers, candidates and their staff improve their cybersecurity and awareness for how their accounts could be hacked or abused. The Internet and Mobile Association of India (IAMAI), the industry body at the forefront of representing social media companies ahead of the elections, has told the EC that social media companies have brought down the time taken to respond to violations reported under Section 126 of the Representation of the People Act (RPA) to two hours from the earlier three hours. The IAMAI, which represents companies, had come up with a voluntary code of ethics for social media companies, which will be in force till the end of Lok Sabha elections.
“These valid legal orders will be acknowledged and/or processed within 3 hours for violations reported under Section 126 as per the Sinha Committee recommendations. All other valid legal requests will be acted upon expeditiously by the companies, based on the nature of reported violation," the code had stated.
In a letter dated April 7, a copy of which was accessed by Business Standard, the IAMAI said while the time taken to acknowledge violations had been reduced by one hour, it requested the EC that the "3-hour timeframe consistent with the Sinha Committee recommendations remain in place — to ensure that participants have sufficient time to acknowledge and/or process violations in all instances".
“Further, where the Participants require further clarification or additional information (e.g., if the request lacks specific URLs, involves large volumes, or does not follow lawful process), IAMAI proposes that in such cases, the time period be suspended from the time the request for clarification or additional information is made until such time that clarification or additional information is provided, at which point the time period would begin to run again," IAMAI said in its submission to the EC.