WhatsApp, Facebook group admins can be jailed for sharing & ignoring offensive posts

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The threat from the use of social media misuse for fake news, morphed photos and videos has been looming large and further the cooked up stories entice a communal rift in the area.

In a joint order of District Magistrate Yogeshwar Ram Mishra and SSP Nitin Tiwari, it has been stated that only a person who is familiar with all members of the group should become its administrator.

There are several groups on social media that are named on news groups and also groups with other names that are propagating news and information that is not authentic. There are over 200 million WhatsApp users in India while Facebook has 166 million.

WhatsApp and Facebook admins can now get arrested for any fake news that gets shared on their group. The new order goes on to state that, "while freedom of expression on social media is important, it also comes with a responsibility".

The administrator must inform the police station concerned in such cases so that legal action could be taken, says the order. The administrator must include only those members who are personally known to him or her.

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The local administration of Uttar Pradesh's Varanasi on Thursday issued an order that allows prosecution against the group administrators for offensive posts in WhatsApp and Facebook groups.

WhatsApp is literally the breeding ground for fake news and offensive content. "These are being forwarded without cross checking", the statement said as reported by PTI.

Varanasi is the Lok Sabha constituency of Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

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 makes it clear that orders of the Supreme Court and various high courts will be considered while initiating action. Moreover, PTI points out that the Varanasi police is facing a severe staff crunch, making it hard to carry out the order effectively.

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