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Election Commission ropes in Google to track digital political advertisements


With political parties adopting technologies like digital advertising to reach out voters, the Election Commission of India (ECI) is also keeping pace with them. The ECI has roped in Google to track online advertising done by political parties.

The search engine will develop a mechanism that will enable it to share with the authority, details about the expenditure incurred on its platforms. Besides, it will only allow the advertisements that are pre-certified by the EC’s Media Certification and Monitoring Committees.

The Commission is the nodal body for pre-certification of advertisements of a political nature, released by either an individual or an organisation.

The move is one of the steps the ECI has taken in the past few months to apply the conventional rule in the digital world. In June this year, it asked Facebook to consider blocking of political advertisement during the last 48 hours before elections in the country.

To check the political advertisement during the last hours, the social media giant is reviewing to provide a button on the Facebook page for flagging complaints about violations of election law.

Earlier, the ECI has also partnered with Facebook for the voter registration campaign. In June last year, it launched voter registration reminder.

The reminder was sent in 13 Indian languages – English, Hindi, Gujarati, Tamil, Telugu, Malayalam, Kannada, Punjabi, Bengali, Urdu, Assamese, Marathi and Oriya.

This year, even after the data breach scandal, the ECI continued to work with Facebook for the Karnataka assembly poll.

Meanwhile, Facebook has also been working independently to shares its bit in free and fair elections in India after the Cambridge Analytica controversy, which was accused of manipulating elections in various countries across the world.

During the Karnataka Assembly polls, Facebook tied up with the Indian fact-checking agency, Boom Live, which confirmed over 50 cases of “fake news.”

The development was first reported by The Hindu.

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