The world’s biggest democracy, India, is gearing up for the 2019 Lok Sabha Elections.
India has about 900 million voters registered for this election and approximately one third of them are active social media users. Some of the most used social media platforms in India are Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Share Chat and TikTok.
Elections are the core of a flourishing democracy, and it is important that they be conducted fairly under the ambit of the Constitution of India. The Election Commission of India (ECI) has rolled out new reforms in the model code of conduct for this year’s general elections.
These reforms said a digital marketing agency in Pune, include the basket of different social media platforms.
In this blog we will learn and analyse all these new rules and regulations that affect the netizens of India.
- Registration Of Official Social Media Handles Of The Candidates
The candidates for the Lok Sabha Elections must register their official social media handles with the Election Commission of India.
This is a vital element for monitoring and transparency purposes.
All candidates will have to give details of their Facebook pages, Twitter handles, Instagram accounts through which they will be running their election campaign on the internet.
- Verification Of Social Media Marketing Teams AKA War Room Of Candidates
We are all well aware of the fact that digital media campaigns for election candidates are run by a team of social media and digital marketing experts. This team sits out of an office, popularly called as the “War Room” and operated political campaigns on behalf of the candidates.
As per the new Model Code of Conduct, all such teams need to get themselves verified on social media platforms. Facebook, Twitter and other social media websites will be conducting a physical verification of the candidate’s War Room address through the services of the Indian Post.
Cost of Salary of such employee is to be considered in political campaign.
This step will ensure accountability for the marketing teams who until now have had a free reign without any consequences explained a digital marketing agency in Pune.
- All Expenditure On Social Media Marketing Will Be Reported To The ECI
All candidates have a ceiling limit of Rs. 70 lakhs to spend on their political campaign except for candidates from Arunachal Pradesh, Goa and Sikkim where the ceiling limit is lowered to Rs. 54 lakhs.
Money spent on social media ad campaigns will now be included in this expenditure, whether or not the candidates agree to it. In fact, the ECI has instructed the social media platforms and search engines like Google to independently report on the expenditure of every candidate using their platforms.
Thus, a high level of transparency and analytical data will be obtained.
Thus all the ads and results from social media campaign is available on public domain. So that common man can see how much budget been by each party, candidate.
Facebook report can be seen on
This report is available for 7 seven years on website.
- Pre Certification Of Political Ads For The World Wide Web
In a spectacularly progressive move the ECI has notified that all ads – whether text, or images, or videos which will be run on the internet need to be certified by the Media Certification and Monitoring Committee (MCMC) before they are run on SERPs (Search Engine Results Page), display networks, YouTube and social media platforms.
In the opinion of a digital marketing company in Pune, this move will alleviate the number of hateful, derogatory and provocative political ads run on the internet by the candidates.
By bringing the internet under the ambit of the MCMC, the ECI has sent out a strong message about how it views the new age digital media.
- Google Announces A Political Ads Library
Google, the world’s number one search engine announced that it will be creating a library of political ads run by candidates during the 2019 Lok Sabha elections in India.
This library will be accessible to anyone.
The ECI’s nodal officers can use these monitor and create reports about the campaigns. this report is a part of Google’s “Transparency Report” initiatives.
This will bring in accountability, fairness and respect for the word of the law during these elections.
- Voluntary Code of Ethics of IAMAI
The Internet And Mobile Association of India (IAMAI) signed a Voluntary Code of Ethics on March 20th, 2019 in New Delhi effective immediately for the upcoming elections.
This code was created by India’s biggest social media platform companies Facebook, Twitter, Google, Whatsapp and ShareChat after 2 day discussions with the ECI.
This code outlines all the steps these media giants will take to ensure a free and fair election in India.
- The IAMAI has promised to set up seperate teams in the organisations for monitoring political campaigns and issues of national importance posts that will be uploaded on their sites during the next 2 months.
- They will also report and provide data to the assigned nodal officers of the ECI in the run-up of the elections.
- Any violations observed by the companies will be reported under Sec. 126 of the Representation of The People Act, 1951.
A digital marketing service in Pune applauded the steps taken by social media companies, to ensure that there are no manipulations by their algorithms, or other psychologically influencing factors during the election process.
- The Crucial 48 Hour Silence Period
The ECI has notified that in the 48 hours leading up to the end of each polling phase of the elections, no media body including social media, can telecast any programmes, or content, which will promote candidates, or share views on them, any content which may influence the voting of the citizens.
This period is called the 48 hour Silence period.
A digital marketing company in Pune also revealed that social media platforms have been given 3 hours to take down posts which are in violation of the Silence period. They will also have to report the users putting these posts to the ECI.
This general election is a battleground for the new, emerging India and hence it is crucial that citizens should be well informed but not misinformed or misled by the ads, posts and content on the internet.
The new code of conduct and the code of ethics as disclosed by the ECI and IAMAI respectively, will ensure that the citizens of India will decide the winner and not algorithms.