IAS Gyan

Daily News Analysis


19th April, 2024 Polity


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Picture Courtesy: https://www.business-standard.com/article/elections/koo-adopts-voluntary-code-of-ethics-for-fair-social-media-use-during-polls-122011300838_1.html

Context: The Election Commission requested social media platform X (formerly Twitter) to remove election-related posts, citing violations of the Model Code of Conduct under a voluntary ethics code.

Key Highlights

  • The Election Commission of India (EC) has taken action against social media platforms, including X (formerly Twitter), during the ongoing Lok Sabha elections, citing violations of the Model Code of Conduct (MCC).
  • X has announced that it withheld four posts following requests from the EC. The EC's requests were based on violations of the MCC, particularly criticizing political parties and candidates based on unverified allegations or their private lives, which is prohibited during election periods.
  • The EC reminded X that social media platforms had agreed to a Voluntary Code of Ethics in 2019. This code was developed to ensure responsible behaviour by social media platforms during elections, including adherence to electoral laws and prompt action on valid legal requests from the EC.

Compliance and Disagreement

  • Despite complying with the EC's takedown orders, X has expressed disagreement with these actions, asserting that freedom of expression should extend to political speech. X's Global Government Affairs team emphasized the importance of transparency by requesting the EC to publish all future takedown orders.

The "Voluntary Code of Ethics" agreed upon by social media platforms in collaboration with the Internet & Mobile Association of India (IAMAI) during elections are aimed at promoting responsible behaviour and transparency in digital campaigning.

Key Provisions of the Code

  • Awareness Campaigns: Social media platforms voluntarily undertake information, education, and communication campaigns to raise awareness about electoral laws and related instructions among users.
  • Grievance Redressal Channel: Platforms have established a dedicated grievance redressal channel prioritized for addressing cases reported by the Election Commission of India (ECI) promptly.
  • Notification Mechanism: A notification mechanism has been developed between social media platforms and the ECI. This allows the ECI to notify platforms of potential violations of Section 126 of the Representation of the People Act, 1951, and other electoral laws.
  • Pre-Certification of Political Advertisements: Platforms ensure that all political advertisements are pre-certified by the Media Certification and Monitoring Committees, as mandated by the Supreme Court of India.
  • Transparency in Political Advertisements: Participating platforms commit to facilitating transparency in paid political advertisements. This includes using labels or disclosure technologies to identify and distinguish such advertisements.


  • The implementation of the voluntary code aims to enhance the integrity of the electoral process, curb misinformation and inappropriate content, and foster a fair and transparent digital campaigning environment during elections.
  • It emphasizes the shared responsibility of social media platforms, election authorities, and stakeholders in upholding democratic principles and electoral integrity in the digital sphere.


  • The incident highlights the intersection of social media, political discourse, and regulatory oversight during election periods, highlighting the challenges and responsibilities faced by digital platforms in managing political content while upholding democratic values.

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Indian Express


Q. The concept of a "free press" is essential for a democracy, but how to balance this freedom with the potential for misinformation, disinformation, and hate speech to spread rapidly through online media?