From old visuals to completely bogus information, India’s most used app, Whatsapp and its users have been a victim of fake news menace. Spreading fake news on media messaging platforms can be extremely dangerous. In 2012, a series of fake threatening messages in Bangalore forced North East citizens to flee the regions. Lakhs of panic-stricken NE citizens migrated back to their home states bringing in an emergency like situation in the state of Karnataka. Terrorists and traitors make an ill use of such platforms to create panic by disseminating fake information regarding bomb blasts and accidents. Although, citizens have the freedom to communicate but it is in India’s benefit to restricting dissemination of fake news.
Instances of lynching of innocent people have been noticed recently because of large number of irresponsible and explosive messages filled with rumours and provocation are being circulated on WhatsApp. The unfortunate killing in many states such as Assam, Maharashtra, Karnataka, Tripura and west Bengals are deeply painful and regrettable.
While the Law and order machinery is taking steps to apprehend the culprits, the abuse of platform like WhatsApp for repeated circulation of such provocative content are equally a matter of deep concern. The Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology has taken serious note of these irresponsible messages and their circulation in such platforms. Deep disapproval of such developments has been conveyed to the senior management of the WhatsApp and they have been advised that necessary remedial measures should be taken to prevent proliferation of these fake and at times motivated/sensational messages. The Government has also directed that spread of such messages should be immediately contained through the application of appropriate technology.
It has also been pointed out that such platform cannot evade accountability and responsibility specially when good technological inventions are abused by some miscreants who resort to provocative messages which lead to spread of violence.
The Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology, Government of India has also conveyed in no uncertain terms that WhatsApp must take immediate action to end this menace and ensure that their platform is not used for such malafide activities.