India’s Jammu and Kashmir’s Kishtwar district has ordered all Whatsapp administrators in the district to register their groups with the District Magistrate by Monday, July 9, 2018, to curb fake news, PulseNg reports.
The District magistrate gave the ruling last Friday, June 29, 2018, following unrest in any part of the country as a result of materials and news shared on the social messaging app.
Over the past few weeks, more than three people have been killed in the District over rumour shared on various Whatsapp groups.
DM Angrez Singh Rana in his ruling warned that those who fail to do so will be booked under the Information Technology Act, the Ranbir Penal Code (RPC), the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act, among others, indiatoday reports.
Abrarb Choudhary, Superintendent of Police, Kishtwar told the Indian TV website that WhatsApp groups are circulating rumours, false information and unconfirmed or baked information to create a problem for the administration.
“The order was issued following police recommendation in this regards. It is to check WhatsApp group that are operating outside the district,” he said.
Here is a copy of the court order as shared by India Today.
Is India alone?
Fake news on Whatsapp is not peculiar to India alone, in Nigeria, fake news and unverified materials spread faster on social media and Whatsapp channels. Recently, the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) ascribed farmers/herdsmen crisis in the country to various fake news emanating from the social media.
The international media agency stated that fake pictures circulating on the social space raises a false alarm and inflame the communal violence in Africa’s most populous nation.
Whatsapp updates Group features to combat fake news
In combating the social media mess especially fake and unwarranted messages on its platform, the Facebook-owned app, WhatsApp, last week, added a feature that will let only administrators send messages to a group.
This feature will reduce the impact of fake news and the spread of fake across groups as Nigeria prepares for general elections in 2019.
How to enable ‘Admin only’ in a group setting
– Open “Group Info”
– Tap Group Settings
– Send Messages and select “Only Admins.”