WhatsApp group admins may face legal action over spread of false info

epa05287194 (FILE) A file picture dated 07 April 2016 shows the logo of the messaging application WhatsApp on a smartphone in Taipei, Taiwan. For the second time in six months, a Brazilian judge on 02 May 2016 ordered a temporary shutdown of the Facebook-owned WhatsApp messaging service. The ruling requires Brazilian mobile providers to block the service for 72 hours beginning at 1700 GMT on 02 May 2016. The order was issued in response to a motion from the Federal Police, who are seeking to force Facebook to comply with previous court orders requiring the company to reveal the content of texts sent via WhatsApp by the defendants in a drug trafficking case. EPA/RITCHIE B. TONGO *** Local Caption *** 52688299

Administrators of WhatsApp groups may face legal action if they fail to stop the spread of false information among members that may cause a threat to national security. Deputy Communications and Multimedia Minister Datuk Jailani Johari said provisions under the Communications and Multimedia Act 1998 can be considered as holding the admin accountable. Offences that fall under the Act include the spread of fake news, libel, fraud and exposure of classified information under the Official Secrets Act. “The admin can be called in to assist in investigation and whether or not action would be taken against the individual depends on facts and the statement given in each case,” he said. “The admin is responsible for the group members regardless whether the information (being spread) is fake or inaccurate, or aimed at libel. “If the admin is proven to be directly involved or had intentionally allowed the information to be shared, action would be taken against the individual,” the minister said.Jailani urged group admins to be more responsible and act as “gatekeepers” to keep fake news at bay.

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