WhatsApp is the most popular communication platform for millions of users globally. It is also the platform that is marred with a flurry of fake news being shared on a regular basis. Despite efforts taken by the Facebook-owned messaging platform to curb the spread of fake news on the platform, the nuisance is far from eradicated. Taking matters into their own hands, Panchkula police has issued a stern warning to those who engage in spreading fake news on social media platforms such as WhatsApp.
Haryana's Panchkula police department has issued an advisory to curb the spread of fake news regarding COVID-19 and messages that could incite panic and disturb among religious communities. Anyone sending fake messages with malicious intent will naturally be held accountable for their actions, but the Panchkula police is also holding the admins of such groups responsible.
"False news has been seen to be broadcasted on various social media platforms like WhatsApp- which is also the fastest. Several organizations have created WhatsApp groups to increase work outputs. But some people have used these to make fake messages viral which may cause unrest. For any circulation of such false messages both the sender and the WhatsApp group admin will be held responsible," the advisory stated.
WhatsApp users must practice caution
The advisory warns users to practice caution before forwarding messages that can disturb communal harmony or even be malicious in nature. The department has asked users and admins of chat groups to report cases of false news and messages to the nearest police station or through CyberCrime website.
The group admins are also advised to take the necessary action by removing miscreants from groups or change the group settings to "messages by admin only."
"Even after the appropriate setting, if a fake message makes its way to the group which may insult any religion, spread hatred, give a message of bigotry or which may cause communal tension, the admin of the group will be held fully responsible," the warning stated.