The Ministry of Information and Broadcasting (MIB) on Wednesday issued draft policy guidelines for empanelment of social media platforms with the Bureau of Outreach and Communications (BOC) for government advertisements.
The draft addresses eligibility criteria for selection of social media platforms, payment procedure, terms of engagement as well as liabilities and dispute resolution in case of advertisement purchases by the BOC.
BOC is the nodal body for paid outreach by the government across print, electronic media, outdoor media and websites.
A social media platform should have a unique user base of 25 million to be eligible to apply for a contract. The numbers will be verified by the BOC based on Comscore data or Google Analytics.
Interestingly the Comscore numbers of India indicate that Google sites have the highest number of total unique visitors at 397,394 for the month of March 2020, followed by Facebook and Times Internet. In India, TikTok claims to have a monthly active user base of 119 million.
Also, BOC will take a call on which platform is best suited for an outreach activity and will give preference to those platforms based in India as long as it does not impact the outcome.
Other criteria for eligibility for social media platforms are
- Transparency by providing an online panel through which advertisements are booked and equal access to all other advertisers and advertising agencies
- Social media platforms seeking government advertisements should not have been suspended or blacklisted by the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology (MeitY) or other ministries, PSUs, agency or state governments.
- The platforms will have only authorised personnel interacting with BOC for the government ads
According to the document, the objectives of the draft guidelines include improving the social media outreach of government departments and ministries as well as, “to put in place a policy framework which enables Ministries and BOC to engage with social media platforms on the basis of various criterions, terms & conditions and processes stipulated in these guidelines (sic).”
The draft policy guidelines once finalised will be valid for a period of five years.