The Election Commission said a total of 647 cases of paid news have been found while 909 posts have been taken down from various social media platforms during the seven-phase Lok Sabha elections which ended on Sunday.
Of the total paid news cases, 57 were registered in the seventh phase of voting, one in the sixth phase, eight in the fifth phase, 136 in the fourth phase, 52 in the third phase, 51 in the second phase and the highest – 342 – in the first phase.
The EC said the total of paid news cases found in 2014 was the “worst” – at 1,297.
For the first time, the Commission said it implemented the “voluntary code of ethics for social media” and deployed experts and nodal official in all constituencies.
Among the posts taken down by various social media platforms, the EC said that Facebook has taken down 650 posts, Twitter 220, ShareChat 31, Google five and WhatsApp three.
Of the posts taken down by Facebook, 482 were political posts during the “silence period” – 48 hours prior to polling, 73 political ads during the silence period, two violations of the Model Code of Conduct, 43 cases of voter misinformation, 28 were against public morality and decency, 11 were exit polls, and 11 were related to hate speech and undue influence.
Out of 220 posts taken down by Twitter, eight posts were political posts during the silence period, 34 violated the Model Code of Conduct, 102 were voter misinformation (impersonating EC’s Twitter accounts), 74 were of exit polls, and two were of hate speech and undue influence.
All the 31 posts taken down by ShareChat are related to violation of Model Code of Conduct while three of the five posts taken down by Google are related to voter misinformation and one each of political posts during the silence period, and hate speech and undue influence.
Two of the three posts taken down by WhatsApp related to hate speech and undue influence while one was a violation of the Model Code of Conduct.