PAFFREL eye on offensive political posts on FB | Daily News


PAFFREL eye on offensive political posts on FB

The People’s Action for Free and Fair Elections (PAFFREL) will monitor popular political Facebook pages and Facebook pages of political parties and candidates during the upcoming General Elections.

PAFFREL Executive Director Rohana Hettiarachchi told the Daily News that a discussion in this regard was held with the Election Commission yesterday.

PAFFREL will directly report offensive posts to the Election Commission’s Election Dispute Resolution Centre and the Centre would report them to the Facebook management to remove such posts.

He said posts related to election law violations, false information, hate speech, exerting influence, provoking conflict and human rights violations would be reported in this manner.

Hettiarachchi said the social media monitoring would commence soon after the nomination period is over, and would continue the process even in the post-election period. He said the PAFFREL uses a computer application to monitor the content initially using ‘key words’ and then will check manually.

He said a team of ten has been assigned the task. “Then our lawyers will go through the posts prior to reporting them to the Election Commission,” he added.

The PAFFREL monitored over 11,000 Facebook pages at last year’s Presidential Election and referred 1,972 observations to the Election Commission. “Last time there were only 35 candidates, but this time this number will exceed 4,000. Therefore only the pages of competitive candidates in about four main parties, who have considerable online presence, will be monitored,” he noted.

Asked whether the process brought the intended results last time, Hettiarachchi said the response was quick during the ‘cooling-off period’ and that the advertisements were taken down immediately, but that the process was slow during the rest of the period.

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