WhatsApp, Facebook Group Admins Can Go To Jail For Offensive Posts

Now offensive posts on social media groups can create problems for group admins

Directives are being issued to social media groups, WhatsApp and Facebook group administrators and members, the order said.

WhatsApp and Facebook admins can now get arrested for any fake news that gets shared on their group.

According to an order issued jointly by the District Magistrate and Superintendent of Police in Varanasi, the social-media group's administrator will be held responsible for all the content posted on the group. People found guilty will be charged under cybercrime law, Information Technology Act and IPC.

Now, if you are an admin of a group that has circulated such a news, you could be jailed.

The Bench said, "When an online platform is created, the creator thereof can not expect any of the members thereof to indulge in defamation, and defamatory statements made by any member of the group can not make the administrator liable".

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. The order goes directly against a Delhi High Court verdict past year which decreed that admins can't be held responsible for content shared by others. "These are being forwarded without cross-checking", the joint order stated.

The motive of the order is to curb fake news, offensive videos and doctored photos being posted. The group admin should add only know persons to the group.

Besides, there are more than 200 million Whatsapp users in India, who are part of millions of group.

The order stipulates that group administrators must remove members responsible for offending posts from a group. The orders of the Supreme Court and the high courts will be final while taking action. In an age where social media is booming, filtering content will imply thoughtful execution by the WhatsApp administrators.

However, it remains to be seen how Varanasi police, which is facing severe staff crunch, implements such an order on social media are not limited to the boundaries of the district.

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