If you are the admin of a WhatsApp or Facebook group there is bad news for you. An order issued jointly by the District Magistrate and Superintendent of Police in Varanasi says that the administrator of a social-media group will be held responsible for any content that is posted on the group.
Varanasi District Magistrate Yogeshwar Ram Mishra and Superintendent of Police Nitin Tiwari issued a joint order declaring that an FIR can be filed against a social-media group administrator if there is communally divisive or factually incorrect content posted on the group. The order has been issued to curb fake news, doctored photos, and offensive videos from being posted.
"There are several groups on social media which are named on newsgroups and also groups with other names which are propagating news and information which is not authentic. These are being forwarded without cross-checking," the joint order stated.
The order states that the group administrator should only add those people to the group who he or she know about. It also says that administrators were responsible for the content being posted on the group. However, last year Delhi High Court had ruled that WhatsApp admins were not responsible for the content posted on their groups.
"In the event of inaction from the group admin, he or she will be considered guilty and action will be taken against the group admin," the order says. "Such a post must also be reported to the nearest police station."
Also, last year, the District Magistrate of Kupwara in Jammu and Kashmir had issued a circular which said that all WhatsApp newsgroups in the district needed to be registered with the DM's office.
(With Inputs from PTI)