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ShareChat takes down half a million pieces of content, 54K accounts removed

ShareChat, a vernacular social network that supports 14 Indian languages, has about 45 million monthly active users.

, ET Bureau|
Updated: Apr 17, 2019, 10.30 PM IST
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With social media playing a major role in political campaigning, there have been concerns around potential misuse of digital platforms to influence voters.
BENGALURU: ShareChat, India’s homegrown social media platform, has taken down nearly half a million pieces of content and removed 54400 accounts since February for spreading fake news, hate speech, spam and conducting coordinated misinformation campaign, in the run up to General Elections.

ShareChat, a vernacular social network that supports 14 Indian languages, has about 45 million monthly active users. It is one of the 5 Internet companies that agreed to the Election Commission of India’s (EC) voluntary code to control ‘problematic content’ and bring ‘transparency in political advertising’.

“This has been our largest removal of accounts yet. Right now, because of elections, there is increased interest in politics on the platform. We’ve intensified our efforts in policing the platform,” said Berges Malu, Head for Public Policy. “We are investing heavily in moderation to keep the platform clean.”

The Bangalore-based startup said it removed over 487,000 unique pieces of content for violating our community guidelines and terms of use, which includes posting content that is harmful and abusive, incites violence and manufactured hashtag campaigns.

Out of these, 13,195 unique pieces of content were from its politics and news section, 6431 pieces were marked as factually inaccurate by a third-party fact checking agency, NewsChecker.in. The agency supports Hindi, Marathi, Bengali and Tamil.

Some of these posts that ShareChat removed included factually inaccurate statements about the national elections, shared content with an intent to cause public disorder and create a frenzy among various political party supporters and the public.

Earlier in the month, Facebook said it was removing 1 million accounts on daily basis.

ShareChat allows users to create posts, follow people, consume all types of multimedia content, message one-on-one and even share things onto various other communication platforms. It said it saw the use of morphed images and videos to spread misinformation.

ShareChat was founded four year back by three IIT - Kanpur graduates. It counts Shunwei Capital, smartphone maker Xiaomi Corp., SAIF Partners and Lightspeed Venture Partners as its investors. It is valued at about $500 million.

The company uses moderators and artificial intelligence tools to take down content. It also relies on user reports to take down content. It did not share how much the startup has spent on the monitoring activity that runs round the clock.

“As an Indian platform, we are committed and vigilant to continue to police the platform for the next 6 phases of elections. Going forward, for all Indian elections, we will follow the same standard operating procedure,” Malu said.

As part of its engagement with EC, ShareChat conducted a training session for nodal officers in New Delhi. The training included methods through which EC could report potentially unlawful content for quick redressal.
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