Guidelines issued by Panchkula police state that in case a false news or rumour regarding Covid-19, or a message which may create panic among religious communities is circulated on social media, both the admin of the group as well as the sender of the message will be held responsible.
The announcement said, “False news has been seen to be broadcasted on various social media platforms like WhatsApp- which is also the fastest. Several organisations have created WhatsApp groups to increase work outputs. But some people have used these to make fake messages viral which may cause unrest. For any circulation of such false messages, both the sender and the WhatsApp group admin will be held responsible.”
The advisory urged people to be aware of such messages which are also raising the cases of fraud. Giving out suggestions on how to tackle these, the police department has requested that users of social media “keep an eye on the messages coming on social media.”
The department has also asked the users as well as the admins of groups to report cases of false news and messages to their nearest police station or online through their website http://www.cybercrime.gov.in.
The guidelines urged the group admins to either remove mischiefs from groups or put the group settings to ‘messages by admin only’. They further requested the admins to ensure that every group member is reliable and responsible and shares only verified news. The advisory also stated, “Even after the appropriate setting, if a fake news or rumours makes its way to the group which may insult any religion, spread hatred, give a message of bigotry or which may cause communal tension, the admin of the group will be held fully responsible.”