As per the order issued by Varanasi’s District Magistrate Yogeshwar Ram Mishra and Senior Superintendent of Police Nitin Tiwari joint order, according to which Admins of any WhatsApp or Facebook group can be arrested, if any offensive or fake news is being circulated by any members of the Group.
The order said: “There are several groups on social media which are named on newsgroups and also groups with other names which are propagating news and information which is not authentic. These are being forwarded without cross checking..”
As per the order issued, some of the content type which can face the wrath of the police, and can potentially lead to the arrest of group admins includes (but not limited to):
- Morphed images of celebrities, politicians
- Spreading fake news
- Sharing fabricated videos
- Content, messages which can ignite social unrest, communal tension
WhatsApp/Facebook Group Admin To Be Held Accountable
As per the order, the Group admin(s) would be held responsible for any type of content shared in the group. The admin ‘must’ delete the content, and report the sender of that message to the nearest police station.
In case the admin is not checking the messages or is out of Internet coverage area, then it will mean that the admin is guilty, and would be held accountable for the ‘damages’.
The order said, “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,”
As per the order, if any of the above-mentioned posts is circulated via these groups, then the relevant cyber-crime law, Information Technology Act and IPC acts would be used to arrest the admins.
The order also commands the admin to add only those persons, whom they personally know.