Despite concerns over data theft, Facebook to remain EC's social media partner

Facebook would remain the poll panel's social media partner during the Karnataka assembly elections, CEC Rawat said on Tuesday.

New Delhi: Despite a global outcry over the alleged misuse of millions of Facebook users' personal data, the Election Commission of India on Tuesday reiterated that the popular social networking website will continue to remain its social media partner during the assembly elections in Karnataka.

Chief Election Commissioner OP Rawat said, ''the Facebook would remain the poll panel's social media partner during the Karnataka assembly elections.''

While acknowledging concerns over data theft, the CEC said that utilisation of social media cannot be stopped due to instances of "aberrations," 

He also said the social media cell of the EC would go into the issue of App of politicians and political parties sharing user data without the users' consent.

Rawat further said that the cell will make its recommendations on the issue to the Commission which would then take a call.

"Any aberration won't stop the use of modern technology... Banks frauds have taken place, but we don't stop banking," Rawat told a press conference while announcing the Karnataka assembly poll schedule.

Rawat made these remarks while responding to questions if the Facebook would continue to be the EC's social media partner in the wake of reports that its user data had been harvested by a company without the users' consent.

He said the Facebook would continue to be its social media partner. "It is. We have a Facebook page," he said.

The CEC said that the social media is a reality and the EC will take all precautions at its command to prevent episodes which adversely affect elections in the country.

The CEC had last week said the poll panel would coordinate with the enforcement agencies for suggestions to prevent "unlawful" activities such as attempts to influence polls.

He had made the remarks following revelations about data harvesting by the British poll consultancy firm Cambridge Analytica through Facebook.

The Facebook data scandal erupted after a whistleblower revealed that Cambridge Analytica, a data firm with ties to Trump's 2016 campaign, accessed personal data from 50 million users of the website without their knowledge, and might have kept that data even after the social media giant told the company to delete it.

The EC uses Facebook to encourage young people to enrol as voters. 

(With PTI inputs)

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