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‘Social’ly acceptable!

Monday, February 13, 2012
By Vishnudas Sheshrao

The State Election Commission (SEC) failed to bring in any regulation on the use of social networking sites during the period of the election campaign for the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) polls, consequently allowing candidates to employ such sites for promotional activities.

The SEC and the BMC election cell were thinking of bringing regulation and control on the social networking sites as these websites are extensively used during election campaigns. However, these bodies could not come up with any concrete rules regarding the use of social networking sites.

The SEC has a set of Code of Conduct, to regulate the conduct and campaign of candidates contesting the elections. It controls every aspect of election campaign – their advertisement in newspaper, radio and TV. However, there is no regulation on the social networking sites like Facebook, Orkut, Twitter, Flickr, Linkedln  and Myspace.

After Feb. 14, candidates cannot officially campaign by any means like newspaper, radio or TV ads, nor can they make a public address at any sort of gathering to attract possible votes. However, candidates or their agents can continue to campaign on the social networking sites even after Feb. 14, due to the absence of guidelines regarding the same.

There was news that SEC has sent some notification to the BMC regarding the social networking sites. However, civic officials said they did not receive any notification related to the use of social networking sites.

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