Facebook, WhatsApp and Twitter Under Fire, Indian Government Warns Social Media Chiefs To Comply
It is no mystery that India is reeling from an unprecedented turmoil. Malicious hate speech, spewing unwarranted venom and spreading fake news have become a norm, inflicting our erstwhile public comity. An easy and unchecked access to social media channels is one of the many reasons for this tragic onslaught. In fact, a report submitted by a panel of secretaries to the government on Wednesday said that lynching incidents are part of a larger problem of unchecked malicious content on websites and social media platforms, mainly targeting children, women and minorities.
In the wake of this fierce torrent, Government is cracking down on the social media platforms like WhatsApp, Facebook etc. The centre is not leaving any stone unturned in curbing this upheaval. They want social media chiefs to toe the line with the centre’s plans. And work towards curbing the online hate and misinformation. And lest the social media chiefs fail to comply – the message is succinct – either abide or face stringent measures.
The government formed the panel of secretaries, headed by Union home secretary Rajiv Gauba. The panel will formulate its response on growing incidents of mob violence. Data reflects that around 34 people have been lynched across nine states in the past year.
What Does The Government Expect From The Social Media Chiefs?
The ministry alleges that social media chiefs are aloof of the communal tensions. Also, they are letting people get away with irresponsible and misinterpreted messages. Keeping this in mind, the committee headed by Gauba asserts that laws should be tightened by inserting clauses in the Indian Penal Code and the Code of Criminal Procedure through parliamentary approval.
Furthermore, social media platforms such as Facebook, WhatsApp, YouTube and Twitter will be made accountable for not blocking malicious posts/videos when brought to notice. Secondly, FIRs could be lodged against their country heads for non-compliance of government orders and they could be prosecuted under law.
Moreover, there is also a call for law enforcement agencies in the country to increase their presence in the cyberspace.
Other Measures – Strict Vigilance
A spate of mob lynchings have pervaded India and claimed so many lives. Apart from the social media measures, the centre has also asked State governments and Union Territories to appoint an officer in each district at the level of Superintendent of Police. Along with, setting up a special task force to gather intelligence to prevent mob attacks on suspicion of being cattle smugglers and other hate propaganda.