Administrator of a group on WhatsApp or Facebook is liable for prosecution if any rumour or fake news is circulated on it.
In a joint order issued by Varanasi, District Magistrate Yogeshwar Ram Mishra and Senior Superintendent of Police Nitin Tiwari, it has been made clear that any factually incorrect, rumour or misleading information on a social media group could result in an FIR against the group administrator.
Social media group administrators should be ready to bear the responsibility and ownership of the groups.
If any statement is made by a group member which is fake, can cause religious disharmony, or rumour, the group admin must deny it on the group and remove the member from the group, the order reads.
The order also makes it clear that orders of the Supreme Court and various high courts will be considered while initiating action against group administrators.
Concerns have been raised about social media misuse as fake news, morphed photographs and disturbing videos with fabricated local narratives can easily be circulated that can trigger tension and even communal rift in an area.
“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,” it said.
Considering this issue, directives are being issued to social media groups, WhatsApp and Facebook group administrators and members, the order said.
There are over 200 million WhatsApp users in India.
The administrator of WhatsApp group must include only those members who are personally known to him or her.