Facebook to Remain EC’s Social Media Partner Despite Data Leaks

EC would also look into the issue of apps of political parties sharing user data without consent.

2 min read
Chief Election Commissioner Om Prakash Rawat.

Observing that utilisation of social media cannot be stopped due to instances of "aberrations," Chief Election Commissioner OP Rawat on Tuesday said that Facebook would remain the poll panel's social media partner during the Karnataka Assembly elections.

He also said the social media cell of the EC would go into the issue of apps of politicians and political parties sharing user data without the users’ consent.

He said the cell will make its recommendations on the issue to the Commission which would then take a call.

"Any aberration won't stop the use of modern technology... bank frauds have taken place, but we don't stop banking," Rawat told a press conference while announcing the Karnataka Assembly poll schedule.

He was asked if Facebook would continue to be the EC's social media partner in the wake of reports that its user data had been harvested by a company without the users' consent.

"It is. We have a Facebook page," he said.

The CEC said that social media is a reality and the EC will take all precautions at its command to prevent episodes which adversely affect Indian elections.

The CEC had last week said the poll panel would coordinate with the enforcement agencies for suggestions to prevent “unlawful” activities such as attempts to influence polls.

He had made the remarks following revelations about data harvesting by British poll consultancy firm Cambridge Analytica through Facebook.

The Facebook data scandal erupted after a whistleblower revealed that Cambridge Analytica, a data firm with ties to Trump's 2016 campaign, accessed personal data from 50 million users of the website without their knowledge, and might have kept that data even after the social media giant told the company to delete it.

The EC uses Facebook to encourage young people to enroll as voters.

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