Clampdown on social media in J&K

A clampdown is under way in Jammu & Kashmir to contain circulation of fake news on social media platforms, especially through instant messaging service WhatsApp, as the police on Sunday identified several social media groups that were “responsible for” rioting in Srinagar last week.

A Srinagar-based police spokesman said several Facebook pages, WhatsApp groups and individuals using social media and circulating rumours had been identified in the July 12 case of arson during clashes in Srinagar’s Soura area.

“A rumour was circulated on social media about security forces setting ablaze handcarts in Soura’s Anchar area. An investigation has been able to trace the rumour-mongers,” said the police. The authorities were adopting a multi-pronged strategy to end fake news and rumours on social media platforms, responsible in many cases for deterioration of the law and order situation in the Valley.

Superintendent of Police (Kishtwar) Abrar A. Chowdhary has directed the administrator of a WhatsApp group ‘Youth for peace’ to register with the Deputy Commissioner.

The police have warned of action if WhatsApp group adminstrators fail to register.

The administration has invoked the Information Technology Act and Unlawful Activities Prevention Act in its order.

Around 25 WhatsApp groups have registered with the Kishtwar administration already.

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