After its plan to penalise journalists identified as purveyors of fake news was nixed by the PMO, the I&B ministry has now decided to set up a social media communication hub and deploy executives to monitor online content across each of India’s 716 districts.
The monitoring mechanism, once in place, will be able to read, contextualise and respond to content in most Indian and foreign languages across India, and will get a “360 degree view of the customers by integrating customer relationship management data with social profiles”. The platform will “personalise responses (on the) basis (of) the customer loyalty and past behaviours,” and will also help the ministry “identify influencers basis attributes like follower count”.
The initiative is being implemented through the ministry’s broadcast engineering arm, BECIL, which has mandated media hub teams to collect data relating to regional media and local events, monitor local editions of newspapers, cable channels, FM stations and important local social media handles. The teams will also check “the spread of fake and incorrect news and information”, conduct perception analysis on various events, and generate a minimum of six reports per day to be relayed back to the ministry.
While the SMA tool will “crawl World Wide Web and social media to monitor and analyse various trends emerging among netizens”, it will also be able to distinguish between “positive, negative and neutral social media conversations” in the context of the views of the I&B ministry. Sources in the government said the ministry has sanctioned Rs 20 crore for the project.