'Working in close cooperation with EC to curb fake news during election': Ravi Shankar Prasad
The central government is working in close cooperation with the Election Commission of India (ECI) to curb fake news designed to influence upcoming Assembly elections in four states and a union territory, Union minister of information and technology Ravi Shankar Prasad informed the Parliament on Thursday. The minister also said that the election regulatory body has set up a dedicated cell to weed out any fake news and media that may influence the polls.
Around 187 million people in southern and eastern India will vote in 824 assembly seats for a month. The voting process will begin by March 27 and the counting will take place on May 2.
Prasad also cited an example of the Cambridge Analytica data mining case and said, "We took a very tough action and the company today has been banned, and a CBI investigation is going on. Therefore, for maintaining the purity of India's electoral process, my government works in close cooperation with EC to ensure that there is no influence of election by fake news."
In 2018, Mark Zuckerberg-owned Facebook said that the data of about 87 million people – mostly in the US – might have been improperly shared with the British political consulting firm, Cambridge Analytica. After the data breach came to the light, the Indian government launched an investigation into the case for allegedly mining the personal data of Indians from Facebook illegally.
Over the last few years, fake news, especially that propagates on social media and messaging platforms, has become a significant problem around the world, especially during the time of election. On March 11, the Election Commission ordered an FIR over "fake news" about EVM hacking attributed to former chief election commissioner T S Krishnamurthy circulated on the internet. It also warned of stern action against the miscreants uploading fake news to create wrong impressions about the election process.