IN AN advisory issued by Panchkula police, the department has stated that in case a false news or rumour regarding Covid-19, or a message which may create panic and disturb peace among religious communities is circulated on social media, both the administrator of the group as well as the sender of the message will be held responsible.
The advisory said, “False news has been seen to be broadcasted on various social media platforms like WhatsApp- which is also the fastest. Several organisations have created WhatsApp groups to increase work outputs. But some people have used these to make fake messages viral which may cause unrest. For any circulation of such false messages both the sender and the WhatsApp group admin will be held responsible.”
The advisory urged people to “beware” of such messages which are also increasing the cases of fraud. Giving out ‘tips’ on how to battle these, the police department has suggested that users of social media “keep an eye on the messages coming on social media. Please read any message before forwarding it, if it is not necessary, do not forward it. During this catastrophe of Covid-19, the Cyber department is receiving such complaints where in people are spreading false information on social media.“
The department has also asked the users as well as the admins of groups to report cases of false news and messages to their nearest police station or online through their website http://www.cybercrime.gov.in.
They urged the people to no post fake news, hate speech or misinformation in groups and not forward or disseminate fake news which they read in other groups, delete objectionable posts immediately, report cases of fake news or hate speech to the police and group admin and further, not share content which may be violent, obscene and discriminatory against any religious community.
The department urged the group admins to either remove miscreants from groups or put the group settings to ‘messages by admin only’. They further asked the admins to ensure that every group member is reliable and responsible and shares only verified news, inform group members about the rules of posting in the group, and actively and regularly monitor the content that is being shared on the group. The advisory further stated, “Even after the appropriate setting, if a fake message makes its way to the group which may insult any religion, spread hatred, give a message of bigotry or which may cause communal tension, the admin of the group will be held fully responsible.”