Covid Misinformation Platforms, covid fake news, Social media news, Covid misinformation, ministry of electronics, Ministry of Electronics and IT

Social media platforms have been asked to curb fake news and misinformation related to the Covid-19 pandemic.

The government on Friday sent an advisory to platforms — such as Facebook, WhatsApp, Twitter and Instagram — to “initiate awareness campaigns” among users to not circulate “any false news or misinformation” that is likely to create “panic among the public and disturb the public order.”

The platforms have also been asked to take “immediate action” to disable or remove such content, promote dissemination of authentic information related to the Covid-19 outbreak and issue “warnings” to imposters who misuse the platform.

According to the advisory — sent by the Ministry of Electronics and IT — social media platforms are intermediaries as defined under the Information Technology Act, 2000 and are therefore required to follow due diligence, as prescribed in the IT (Intermediary Guidelines and Digital Media Ethics Code) Rules, 2021.

The rules were notified in February under Section 79 of the IT Act.

ET has reviewed a copy of the advisory. “They (social media platforms) must inform their users not to host, display, upload, modify, publish, transmit, update or share any information that may affect public order and unlawful in any way,” it said.

Several social media platforms have in-built mechanisms that direct users to authentic sources of information on issues such as how to get Covid-19 vaccinations or treatments and about the symptoms of the infection.


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