Thursday, 19 July, 2018

Varanasi: Web group admins to face action for posts spreading rumours

Offensive posts—such as rumours or fake news—circulated through Whats App or Facebook groups can land the group admin in jail Varanasi: Web group admins to face action for posts spreading rumours
Sherri Watson | 21 April, 2017, 18:57

The order comes in wake of the increasing number of cases where fake news, morphed images and edited videos are being used to create tensions between different communities.

DM Yogeshwar Ram Mishra and SP Nitin Tiwari of Varanasi have released a joint order according to which, a FIR can be lodged against a group administrator on Facebook or WhatsApp if fake news, rumours, incorrect information is being circulated on their group.

The order covers administrators of Facebook groups and other social media groups as well. The former has over 200 million users in India, while the latter has 166 million.

WhatsApp and Facebook admins can now get arrested for any fake news that gets shared on their group. If a post looks offensive, such a post must also be reported to the nearest police station, it says. As a result, strict action will take place against the group admin. The admins are advised to add individuals who are known to them personally to avoid any religious disharmony, rumour etc. "These are being forwarded without cross checking", it said. The order directs that the group administrator rebut messages with wrong statements and unconfirmed news that could trigger rumour or disturb social harmony and remove the member who posted the message.

WhatsApp is literally the breeding ground for fake news and offensive content.

The order says that the derivative about the same will be issued to social media group administrators and members. It directed that social media group administrators should be ready to bear the responsibility and ownership of the groups.

Further, a case will be registered under the cyber-crime law, Information Technology Act and Indian Penal Code will be filed in a case of violation of these guidelines. The order also made it clear that orders of Supreme Court and various high courts will be considered while initiating action, reports PTI.

However, it remains to be seen how Varanasi police, which is facing severe staff crunch, implements such an order on social media are not limited to the boundaries of the district.