If you are one of the admins on WhatsApp or Facebook group, then you need to be extra careful as a single offensive post or fake news might land you in jail. According to a new rule by District Magistrate of Varanasi and city’s police chief, the administrator of a social media group will be held responsible for any offensive content that is posted on the group.
Varanasi District Magistrate Yogeshwar Ram Mishra and Superintendent of Police Nitin Tiwari issued a joint order that says that a FIR (first investigation report) would be filed against a group admin if the information is factually incorrect, misleading or is a rumour, which can trigger tension and communal discord in a specific area. This bold move is in line to kerb fake news, doctored images and offensive videos from being circulated through social media.
“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. “Such a post must also be reported to the nearest police station.”
The group admin should include those member whom he/she knows personally and if any statement made by a group member is incorrect, can cause religious disharmony or is fake, the group admin should remove the post and the member from the group, the order stated.
Further, a case will be registered under the cyber-crime law, Information Technology Act and Indian Penal Code will be filed in a case of violation of these guidelines. The order also made it clear that orders of Supreme Court and various high courts will be considered while initiating action, reports PTI.
So, if you are group admin then you should be really careful and should closely monitor the content being flowed in the group or else you will be in trouble. However, it would be interesting to see how effectively this order is implemented in the virtual world.