The Indian government is reportedly planning to standardise hiring and payments process of social media agencies who are responsible for uploading government’s official digital content on platforms such as YouTube, Twitter and Facebook.
“We are evolving benchmarks for buying social media services like making movie clips and posting them on various social media platforms. These are at a preliminary stage,” according to an ET report which cited sources aware of the development.
Currently, the government agencies’ social media handles are managed by third parties and each of their contracts are different because no standard has been set for the third party hiring and purchase process.
The social media requirement will be met through the national procurement portal, Government e-Marketplace (GeM). GeM is said to be in talks with various government agencies such as PSUs (public sector units) and government ministries to host services such as social media management and consultancy.
“We are trying to get the requirements from various government agencies to develop a standard process and key performance indicators which they want to be measured, such as the number of likes and shares. No such standards exist today due to which the government departments go for third-party agencies.” the source reportedly said.
Govt’s Tough Stand On Social Media
Over the past few months, the Indian government has been aggressively trying to regulate social media platforms. These efforts were mostly made in order to curb the rampant spread of fake news and rumour online.
Recently last month, a 31-member parliamentary panel of the Indian government has summoned Facebook, WhatsApp and Instagram representatives, to scrutinise the steps taken by these social media companies ahead of 2019 LokSabha Elections. The hearing also witnessed discussions on the topic of ‘safeguarding citizens rights on social/online news media platforms’.
Further, the social media companies have also asked to take down objectionable content which violate the 48-hour media silence rule within two hours.
The election commission had also directed its state level bodies to appoint nodal officers who will be responsible for keeping a tab on the spread of fake news, hate speech and other unlawful content across social media companies.
Social media companies along with IAMAI also submitted the “Voluntary Code of Ethics for the General Election 2019” to chief election commissioner Sunil Arora and election commissioners Ashok Lavasa and Sushil Chandra in March 2019.
More recently in April, Indian judiciary has discussed a ban on the Chinese video sharing platform TikTok. The Madras High Court had noted that the app exposes children to pornography, and makes them vulnerable to sexual predators online.