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WhatsApp and Facebook group admins will be deemed responsible for propagating inauthentic information on the social media platform. News agency PTI reports that Varanasi District Magistrate Yogeshwar Ram Mishra and SSP Nitin Tiwari have issued a new directive that says "any factually incorrect, rumour or misleading information on a social media group could result in a FIR against the group administrator."
The joint order states that only a person familiar with all members of the group should be made an administrator. The order also directs group administrators to refute messages spreading wrong statements or unconfirmed news on social media platforms. "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 said."
Social media platforms like Facebook and WhatsApp have been dominantly used to spread fake news and rumours. While internet giants like Facebook and Google have been trying their best to tackle the spread of fake news, their efforts don't seem that effective.
"An official in the district administration said the order has been issued because certain people were posting “baseless” reports on social media groups and were connecting them reports with the PM’s constituency," reports IndianExpress. In the case of any such misleading information, the group administrator has been ordered to inform the police station to initiate legal action. The group admin will have to face action on failing to do so. Social media users found guilty of spreading fake messages will face criminal action under the IPC and cyber laws.