India’s ongoing battle against spreading fake or misinformation on social media is getting real. An administrator of a WhatsApp group has been arrested following accusations that he morphed a photo of prime minister Narendra Modi to “look ugly and obscene” according to a News 18 report. This arrest follows guidline of a recent law passed by Indian officials stating that posting materials that are fake, rumors or that could cause “religious disharmony” to a social media is illegal.
In the case of WhatsApp, Times of India reports that all group administrators are directed to remove members from a group chat if they’re breaking the Indian laws. If that does not happen, the admin bearers the sole responsibility and is considered to be guilty by proxy. More than that, group chats are supposed to only include people that the admin is supposed to know personally.
A police source confirmed to News18 that, as per the most recent arrests, the administrator of ‘The Balse Boys’, Krishna Sannathamma Naik (30), from Murudeshwar area in the district has been arrested and was detained after another group member, Anand Manjunath Naik, reported Krishna Sannathamma Naik and two other members of the group to the local police.
Krishna Sannathamma Naik, an auto rickshaw driver, is being accused of “posting derogatory matter about Prime Minister Narendra Modi in his group” the statement said.
As for the two other members, Ganesh Naik has been arrested and is out on bail, and Balakrishna Naik is still on the run. It isn’t clear at the time of publishing this article if the all these members of the group are all blood or otherwise related.
The apparent justification for applying the law to the word here is that since WhatsApp being very popular in the country (it has over 200 million users according to the News 18 report), the chances of fake news spreading fast and virally on WhatsApp are considered of high risk.
Source: NEWS18 / Times of India / EnGadget