Special state cyber cell to monitor social media during assembly poll

Mumbai: The Maharashtra Cyber Cell has teamed up with the Election Commission (EC) and set up a cyber m​onitoring and trolling cell to keep an eye on social media. This tie-up will keep rumours at bay and avert setting off a chain reaction with possible violent outcomes like riots, lynching etc and rein in social media users who could influence voters.

During the Lok Sabha election, the state cyber cell had published a handbo ok titled, 'Cyber Security Best Practices' in joint collaboration with the Election Commission, which had a brief description of how officials could identify and report suspicious mails and social media posts which pose a threat to election data.

This time, however, the EC and the Maharashtra Cyber Cell have stepped up their game and taken special precautions to ensure that no untoward incident occurs ahead of the state assembly elections. To prevent any 'election war' on social media, Maharashtra Police have set up a cyber ​monitoring and trolling cell, through which every movement on social media will be closely monitored. Moreover, rumour-mongers will be subject to legal action, said an official.

Balsing Rajput, superintendent of police (cyber) said, "Social media is widely used in elections, which often leads to controversies, viral messages, photos and videos of any social or religious issue. We therefore request everyone to co-operate and follow the instructions given by police to ensure elections are conducted in a healthy environment."

Officials said, to ensure compliance with the code of conduct, the Maharashtra cyber cell has formed a special team to keep a close watch on the social media. Moreover, the youth is forewarned to refrain from uploading any political content, shares and be wise while commenting on posts.

"If any youth is caught violating the poll code of conduct on social media, they will be prosecuted, which could adversely affect their career. Not only youth, but everyone should be cautious about forwarding viral messages on various platforms like Facebook, Instagram and WhatsApp," said a senior cyber official.

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