Interior Ministry in Talks with Facebook to Prevent Illicit Posting of Polls

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stock photo (abc.net.au)

Bratislava, December 12 (TASR) – Representatives of the Interior Ministry and State Commission Office hold talks with Facebook to look into illicit online election campaigning, with next round of talks slated to take place with Google, Interior Ministry’s election department director Eva Chmelova announced on Thursday.

“The objective is to acquire data on individuals who were posting on Facebook information that is subject to penalties,” claimed Chmelova.

Chmelova warned that polls can be legally published only until January 9, 2020, and individuals who might be inclined towards non-compliance on Facebook will find it difficult to stay anonymous. Individual violators might be fined €100,000, whereas political parties up to €300,000.

“It doesn’t even matter whether the post is free of charge or sponsored. What matters is the date when the public opinion poll gets posted,” said Chmelova.

The extension of ban on posting pre-election polls from 14 to 50 days generated opprobrium in Slovakia, with chief of Slovak diplomacy Miroslav Lajcak (a Smer-SD nominee) pointing out that Slovakia now ranks third globally, behind only African states of Cameroon and Tunisia, in the moratorium length.

President Zuzana Caputova challenged the 50-day moratorium in Constitutional Court, believing it encroaches on several civic rights and liberties. Caputova is also asking the court to suspend the effects of the new legislation.