Stringent action to be taken against social media chiefs for spreading hate messages: Government

The centre may now resort to taking legal action against the heads of the social media platforms that are there in India in they do not stop spreading hate messages or sharing wrong information, said an official yesterday signalling that the government is wanting to take stringent action against message sharing platforms like Whatsapp.

Whatsapp, which continues to have the biggest market in the country with 200 million users, has refused to abide by the demand of the government that it permits the tracking of the original sender of the message.

The government has also asked the platform to appoint a grievances officer. More so, a plea that underpins the demand is being heard by the top court.

A senior bureaucrat dealing with the matter, told the media, “There are country representatives of all online giants in India. An action would be initiated against them if they do not comply to remove online hate”.

This one of the recommendations of a panel that gave in its report on lynchings to a group of ministers that is headed by Rajnath Singh the home minister. While the official acceptance of the report stays pending, the online stakeholders have been made wary about this during the follow-up meetings that have been conducted.

A committee that is regulated by Rajiv Gauba, the Union Home Secretary, got consultations with a cross-section of the society and other stakeholders before giving in its reports to the group of ministers, which will submit its recommendations to PM Modi for a final decision, said the official of the home ministry.

He added, “We have stepped up our engagements with social media platforms – WhatsApp, Facebook, Twitter and YouTube. A framework has been worked out, which enables the government to give orders and remove/ block objectionable content”.

All the stakeholders of online media have been asked to submit their compliance report as well. The report suggests, “If compliance is not timely and damage increases after warnings,” strict action would be initiated”.

More so, all the social media giants have been asked to get volunteers and NGOs to aid the government in scanning the online material.

Further, a separate web portal has been created for people to lodge their complaints.

The officer explained, “Thorough CCPWC, any private person can register a complaint if he observes anything objectionable on social media”.


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