The government of India on Monday issued a strict advisory to Twitter, WhatsApp, and Facebook to curb the spread of false news amid the coronavirus crisis in the country.
Stating that a trend of circulating misinformation and sharing of anonymous data on various social media platforms is prevalent, the government said that it is creating panic among the public.
“Social media platforms must inform their users not to host, display, upload, modify, publish transmit, update, or share any information that may affect public order and are unlawful in anyway", the advisory issued by the government said.
The Indian government also asked the platforms to initiate awareness campaigns against the spread of misinformation, prioritise the removal of such content from their platforms, and promote the dissemination of authentic information on COVID-19 in the country.
Social media platforms are required to follow due diligence according to the Information and Technology (Intermediary Guidelines) Rules 2011 under the country’s Information Technology Act 2000.
Various messages and posts are making the rounds on spreading misinformation, creating panic, or false sense of relief among people in the country.
A few messages even claimed that NASA satellites have shown the frequencies generated by clapping and the noise made by banging utensils has forced the coronavirus to retreat from the country, while others claimed homeopathy as a solution to the infection.
As Prime Minister Narendra Modi earlier asked citizens to clap from their balconies to express gratitude for people who are on the frontline serving the citizens of the country in a time of crisis, several messages spread on social media claiming that clapping kills the virus.
India has seen a spike in the cases of coronavirus with toll for active infection cases reaching 359. So far, the virus has claimed seven lives in the country. The Modi government and several states including the national capital Delhi has announced a lockdown until 31 March. Passenger transport such as the the railway system in the country remains suspended.