15:56 GMT11 April 2021
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    The states of Kerala, Tamil Nadu, West Bengal, Assam and the union territory of Puducherry are just days away from elections to their legislative assemblies. Although politicians of various parties are campaigning hard on the traditional hustings, social media is also proving an area of lively debate.

    To help people make “informed decisions” for India's forthcoming elections, Twitter said on Wednesday that it will start labelling false content on its platform to halt the spread of misinformation in the run-up to the polls which start on 27 March.

    In a blog post entitled “An update on our work around Assembly Elections 2021”, Twitter India declared: “We will remove content that manipulates or interferes with elections and is false or contains misleading information about: procedures to do with the election process; false information intended to intimidate or dissuade people from participating; and accounts that misrepresent an affiliation with a political candidate or party.

    "In order for content to be labelled or removed, we must have reason to believe that media, or the context in which media are presented, are significantly and deceptively altered or manipulated,” it added.

    The micro-blogging app used by nearly 20 million Indians has assigned a global team with local, cultural, and language expertise to monitor the election posts.

    The platform also said in its blog that it is taking proactive measures to prevent prohibited political advertising through comprehensive and nuanced enforcement mechanisms.

    ​Last week, the social networking app also highlighted that it was taking multilingual steps to keep people aware about the assembly elections in India.

    “The initiatives include an information search prompt with the Election Commission of India and State Election Commissions to provide reliable information around the elections, a custom emoji to encourage participation and a youth discussion series titled #DemocracyAdda aimed at voter literacy and civic participation among young Indians," Payal Kamat, Manager of Public Policy and Government at Twitter India, said in a post.

    "These will be activated across six languages including English, Hindi, Tamil, Bengali, Assamese and Malayalam, to cater to audiences across India,” Kamat added. 

    Learn more about our efforts to serve the public conversations for the upcoming #AssemblyElections2021 https://t.co/t0xR51R9oy

    In recent years, all major social networking platforms have been censured several times for influencing elections all over the world. During the 2016 presidential campaign in the US, voters were subjected to various forms of tech-driven efforts to mould their opinions.

    Later, in 2018, Facebook admitted to having mishandled and exposed user data of more than 50 million users to UK-based political data-analytics firm Cambridge Analytica. Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg was also questioned by the US government officials about the affect this data breach had on the 2016 presidential elections.

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