Are we not sick and tired all those ‘beware’ and informative essay long messages on WhatsApp that ask us to click this or that or know about the latest way to keep ourselves safe?
Well, after many were proved wrong and managed to create unnecessary hysteria, all these messages might finally be coming to an end.
As per latest reports, the authorities of Varanasi have warned that any information spread on social media, that is incorrect, a rumour or misleading could result in legal action against the group administrator.
This decision includes WhatsApp and Facebook which are known for being one of the most used social media platforms for information sharing.
WhatsApp has in India alone almost 200 million users and Facebook even more. With such a large number of users and the rising case of fake news being spread through unverified channels, this decision was long coming.
The Senior Superintendent of Police Nitin Tiwari and District Magistrate Ram Mishra have released a joint order which states that legal action like a FIR could result against the administrator of a social media group if it is found that the content posted on the group is a rumour, factually incorrect or has misleading information.
According to sources, the statement is quoted saying that, “There are several groups on social media which are named on news groups and also groups with other names which are propagating news and information which is not authentic. These are being forwarded without cross checking”.
This is a really relevant and important decision taken as it finally acknowledges that the group admin has a certain responsibility when it comes to what information is being spread on their group.
In the event that a member of a certain group is forwarding or creating posts which can cause religious unrest or is spreading false rumours, then the group admin must take immediate action and remove that post along with the member from that group, as per the statement released.
If the group admin does not handle the matter and the member, then according to the statement, the admin will be considered guilty and action will be taken against them.
While this decision might come off as a bit harsh, I believe it is a step towards the right direction in order to curb the massive outflow of fake news across social media.
And these toxic forwards on WhatsApp are perhaps the most effective one of spreading false information, causing hysteria over nothing and causing tension amongst people.
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