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Friday, February 26, 2021

To amplify tweets, Delhi Police rope in ‘digital volunteers’

Following the meeting three months ago, DCPs asked SHOs to start looking for digital volunteers. Cyber teams from various districts were also asked to tap resident and market welfare groups, with a focus on those who have verified Twitter handles.

Written by Mahender Singh Manral | New Delhi |
February 6, 2021 1:10:18 am
Twitter account block, banning twitter account, Khalistan sympathisers, Khalistan account, Pakistan backed twitter accounts, Indian expressThe new list is in addition to an old list of 257 accounts sent to Twitter as a part of a notice on January 31 in which the IT ministry had asked the platform to block these handles and certain hashtags used by them. (Representational)

To amplify their social media posts, particularly on Twitter, police in Delhi are enrolling “digital volunteers” across the capital, The Indian Express has learnt. So far, 2,132 such digital volunteers have been roped in by the police, but a closer inspection of the social media accounts revealed 578 were non-functional, it is learnt.

According to a source, the concept was introduced to district DCPs around three months ago during a crime review meeting with Delhi Police Commissioner S N Shrivastava. “A JCP-rank and a DCP-rank officer are supervising the project and they have explained to DCPs the need to spread their messages and achievements on social media. The digital volunteers are asked to like and retweet messages posted by the Delhi Police as well as various DCPs. It is also recommended that they share messages in support of the police’s work,” said a source.

However, police have found that of the 2,132 digital volunteers, 1,055 don’t follow the DCPs from their area.

Following the meeting three months ago, DCPs asked SHOs to start looking for digital volunteers. Cyber teams from various districts were also asked to tap resident and market welfare groups, with a focus on those who have verified Twitter handles. Whenever DCPs of senior police officers tweet something, the digital volunteers are supposed to be sent the tweet so it can be shared and amplified.

“The Southeast district has 979 digital volunteers — the highest — but an assessment indicated 312 accounts were inactive while 690 were not following the DCP concerned. Central district came in second with 186 digital volunteers, but 68 non-existent accounts and 43 not following the DCP. With 179 digital volunteers, North district was third, but a verification by the supervisory officer revealed 48 accounts were non-functional and 93 were not following the DCP,” said a source.

“The districts where the problem of non-functional accounts was relatively less are New Delhi, Southwest and Shahdara,” said the source.

Last year, to keep tabs on unlawful content and with an aim to revamp its image online, the Delhi Police has started an “IT cell” after hiring contractual employees, mostly young graduates with a background in information technology and experience in handling social media.

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