Kerala Elections: Police Flag 36 Social Media Accounts for Spreading Malicious Content

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As Kerala gears up for the Lok Sabha polls, the police’s social media monitoring team has identified and flagged 36 personal and group accounts for disseminating offensive content targeting various political parties and their leaders. The flagged content, deemed derogatory in nature, has prompted authorities to direct social media platforms to remove such material.

The monitoring of social media activities in relation to the Lok Sabha elections commenced following a notification issued by the Election Commission on March 20, prompting the cyber wing to initiate action.

Sources within the police force revealed that they have successfully orchestrated the removal of offensive content in 13 cases. In five instances, social media platforms took down the content upon police request, while in other cases, uploaders voluntarily deleted the material after being cautioned about potential legal consequences.

The majority of the objectionable content identified by the monitoring team comprises politically charged trolls circulated by both social media groups and individuals.

In response to the Election Commission’s directive, the social media monitoring team intensified scrutiny of election-related content circulating online. This marks the first instance of law enforcement agencies actively policing social media platforms to curb the proliferation of toxic and incendiary content during election campaigns.

“We’ve observed all 36 instances within the past six days alone. As the campaign gains momentum, we anticipate an uptick in the misuse of social media platforms,” stated a police source.

According to reports, the offensive content primarily circulated through platforms such as Facebook, Instagram, and YouTube. The early stages of the campaign have seen a proliferation of trolls featuring political figures juxtaposed with images of comedians and actors, accompanied by text that could potentially offend.

The social media monitoring cell, comprising approximately 86 officers, is tasked with closely monitoring online spaces and initiating legal action against offenders. Identified accounts responsible for uploading and disseminating offensive material will be subject to requests for removal from social media firms. However, this process can be arduous, as nodal officers of these firms may dispute the nature of the content and resist its removal.

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