Offensive or derogatory posts, such as fake news or rumors, sent via Facebook or WhatsApp groups may result in trouble for the group admins, that is, the group admin can be jailed. This is decided as per the joint order that the city’s police and the district magistrate of Varanasi chief issued.
Altered photos, fake news, and offensive videos that are circulated on social media are a matter of great concern as they can result in unnecessary tension and also public conflict in a region. To deal with this concern, Yogeshwar Ram Mishra, Varanasi DM, and SP Nitin Tiwari issued a joint order. According to this joint venture, a strict action can be taken against the group administrator, such as an FIR can be filed, if in case factually inappropriate, or rumor, or deceptive information is sent on his/her social media group.
The joint order further stated that several groups on social media have various names based on news groups and even groups with different names propagate information and news that is not genuine. Such news and information are forwarded without even crosschecking.
The order mentioned that group administrators of social media groups should bear the ownership and the responsibility of the groups. It is administrator’s responsibility to include specific people whom he personally knows. In case any group member makes any fake statement, or may result in religious dissonance, or rumor, the group administrator should rebuff it immediately and remove the member from the group.
The order further stated that if the group administrator doesn’t take any action against such things, he/she will be considered responsible and strict action will be taken against him/her. Such posts should be reported to the nearby police station to take necessary action against the group member under the law.
Furthermore, a case will be filed under the cyber crime law, Information Technology Act and Indian Penal Code, if one fails to abide by these guidelines. It is clearly mentioned in the order that Supreme Court and various high courts’ orders will be taken into consideration for initiating any action.
According to the order, though “freedom of expression” on social media is a vital fact, it bundles some responsibility with it. On the other hand, the answer to the question of—how Varanasi police, who is short of sufficient staff at present, will implement such order on social media, as there is no limit or specific boundary that is followed for this social media.