Remove fake content within three hours: EC tells political parties

New Delhi, May 6 (PTI) The Election Commission on Monday directed political parties to remove fake content from their social media platforms within three hours of such content being brought to their notice.

In the directives for responsible and ethical use of social media, the commission also asked the parties not to impersonate another person or post content that is derogatory towards women or publish or circulate deepfake videos.

“Whenever such deepfake audios/videos come to the notice of political parties, they shall immediately take down the post but maximum within a period of three hours and also identify and warn the responsible person within the party,” the poll body said.

Recently, deepfake videos featuring Union Home Minister Amit Shah, Congress leader Rahul Gandhi and actors Aamir Khan and Ranveer Singh posted on certain social media handles were taken down and criminal complaints filed.

The commission also warned the parties against the misuse of artificial intelligence-based tools to create deepfakes that distort information or propagate misinformation and emphasised the need to uphold the integrity of the electoral process.

“Taking cognisance of certain violations of MCC (model code of conduct) and the extant legal provisions by political parties/their representatives while using social media for election campaigning, the commission today has issued directions to political parties for responsible and ethical use of social media in election campaigning to ensure level playing field among all stakeholders,” an Election Commission statement said.

In view of the existing legal provisions, among other directions, the parties have been specifically directed to refrain from publishing and circulating deepfake audios/videos, disseminating any misinformation or information that is patently false, untrue or misleading in nature, to refrain from posting derogatory content towards women, abstain from using children in campaigns, avoid depicting violence or harm to animals, the statement said.

The commission said the parties have been directed to report unlawful information and fake user accounts to the respective platforms and escalate persistent issues to the Grievance Appellate Committee under Rule 3A of the Information Technology (Intermediary Guidelines and Digital Media Ethics Code) Rules, 2021.

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