This bold move is in line to kerb fake news, doctored images and offensive videos from being circulated through social media.
In an order issued by Varanasi District Magistrate Yogeshwar Ram Mishra and Senior Superintendent of Police Nitin Tiwari, any misleading information, rumour, fake news story, videos or any stuff which can trigger tension or lead to communal clash shared on social media groups, then it will be liable for an First Information Report (FIR) and could land the group administrator in jail. Both Facebook and WhatsApp allow one or more users to manage groups, deciding who is let into it and changing its name.
WhatsApp and Facebook admins can now get arrested for any fake news that gets shared on their group.
Now those administrators will be responsible for ensuring that their friends and family continue to post true things in their group, according to the law in Varanasi.
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"In the event of inaction from the group admin, he or she will be considered guilty and action will be taken against the group admin", the order says.
The order also suggests group administrators add people in a group only and only if they're acquainted with them and if any member of the group is posting information or statement that is incorrect and is creating a hostile environment, the group admin must remove him/her from the group. Such a post must also be reported to the nearest police station, it says.
Directives are being issued to social media groups, WhatsApp and Facebook group administrators and members, the order said. "These are being forwarded without cross-checking".
Varanasi is the Lok Sabha constituency of Prime Minister Narendra Modi. The order also made it clear that orders of Supreme Court and various high courts will be considered while initiating action, reports PTI. Moreover, PTI points out that the Varanasi police is facing a severe staff crunch, making it hard to carry out the order effectively.