ISSUES ADVISORY FOR DISSEMINATION OF AUTHENTIC INFORMATION RELATED TO COVID-19 IN LARGER PUBLIC INTEREST
CHANDIGARH, MARCH 23, 2020: Issuing an advisory, the Ministry of Electronics & Information Technology on Monday urged all social media platforms to curb false news/misinformation on Corona Virus (COVID-19). These platforms must inform their users not to host, display, upload, modify, publish, transmit, update or share any information, which is disturbing public order and unlawful in any way.
The Ministry asked the intermediaries to promote dissemination of authentic information related to corona virus as far as possible besides initiating awareness campaign on their platforms for the users not to upload/circulate any false news/misinformation concerning COVID-19, which could lead to create panic among public and disturb public order and social tranquility. The social media platforms have also been instructed to take immediate action to disable/remove such content hosted on their platforms on priority basis in the larger public interest.
According to an official spokesperson, the advisory further stipulated that the Corona Virus outbreak had become a global concern, which was declared as global health emergency by the World Health Organization. However, as per reports there is a trend of circulation of misinformation/false news and sharing anonymous data related to COVID-19 in various social media platforms creating panic amongst masses.
Notably, the Social Media Platforms are intermediaries as defined under section 2(1) (w) of the Information Technology Act, 2000 and are required to follow due diligence as prescribed in the Information Technology (Intermediary Guidelines) Rules 2011 notified under section 79 of the IT Act.