Despite the highly charged nature of the propaganda campaigns being waged online by political parties, candidates and their supporters, the Sri Lanka Computer Emergency Readiness Team (SLCERT) said they had not received any complaints directly from political parties or candidates related to the upcoming General Election.

When contacted by The Nation, Senior Information Security Engineer at SLCERT Roshan Chandraguptha stated while no political party or candidate contesting the upcoming election had lodged complaints with them, they had received some complaints from the general public regarding usage of social media, primarily Facebook, for politically motivated ‘mudslinging’ campaigns during the election period.

“Such issues have to be dealt with by Facebook Corporation itself, and we have directed those complaints to them requesting necessary action,” Chandraguptha said. The Janatha Vimukthi Peramuna (JVP) recently lodged a complaint with the Elections Commissioner over a fake FB page they claimed was made to look like an official party page, but was actually spreading false information about the party.

The SLCERT Spokesperson also said they had received some 1,400 internet-related complaints by end of July this year. This is an increase from the number of complaints received during the same period last year. However, he said this could not be construed as meaning that such incidents had increased. “It is likely that more people have become aware of our activities through the media and other means and are lodging complaints,” he pointed out.

The vast majority of complaints related to Facebook. “Most complaints were with regard to fake profile accounts using information of real users and hacking of profiles,”
Chandraguptha said. He pointed out users were still not careful enough when it comes to deciding the information they shared publicly and were also guilty of not using strong enough passwords to protect their accounts.