New Delhi, May 20: On the direction by the Election Commission of India (ECI), a total of 909 posts were removed from social media platforms- including Facebook, Twitter and WhatsApp during the seven-phased Lok Sabha elections. After the seventh and final phase of polls concluded on Sunday, Director General (Communications) in the EC Dhirendra Ojha gave this information saying that of the 909 posts, Facebook alone took down 650 posts, followed by Twitter (220), ShareChat (31), YouTube (5) and WhatsApp (3). Clean Chit to PMO, NITI Aayog: EC to Re-Examine Complains Over Violation of Model Code of Conduct During Lok Sabha Election Campaign.
Ojha further added saying that of the 650 posts taken down by Facebook, 482 were political messages posted during the ‘silence period’. The ‘silence period’ starts 48 hours before the hour set for ending of polling in a particular phase. With this rule, the seventh phase of polling came to a close at 6 pm on Sunday, so the "silence period" had begun at 6 pm on Friday for this phase.
Ojha was quoted by PTI saying that as many as 73 social media posts were political advertisements in the ‘silence period’, two were violative of the Model Code of Conduct (MCC), 43 were related to voter "misinformation", 28 were dubbed as those crossing the limits of decency, 11 were related to exit polls and 11 were hate speeches. There were also 647 confirmed cases of paid news, of which the maximum of 342 were reported in the first phase itself, he added.
According to reports, in the 2014 Lok Sabha polls, 1,297 confirmed cases of paid news were reported, Ojha informed. On Sunday, voting was held in remaining eight constituencies in Bihar, three constituencies in Jharkhand, eight in Madhya Pradesh, 13 in Uttar Pradesh, nine in West Bengal and all the four constituencies in Himachal Pradesh, 13 in Punjab and the lone seat of Union Territory Chandigarh.
In the last phase of polls held on Sunday, 59 seats went to poll and over 64 per cent voter turnout was recorded in the seventh phase of the Lok Sabha elections. Madhya Pradesh recording the highest turnout of 75.53 per cent.