India asks TikTok, Facebook to remove users spreading coronavirus misinformation


  • Facebook
  • Wednesday, 08 Apr 2020

TikTok said it was 'actively working with the government to support' their efforts to fight misinformation. — Reuters

NEW DELHI: India has told Facebook and Chinese video app TikTok to remove users found to be spreading misinformation about the coronavirus following concern about videos intended to mislead Muslims, according to a government source and a letter seen by Reuters.

The move follows a report by Delhi-based digital analytics firm Voyager Infosec which identified a pattern of targeted disinformation in many social media videos that appeared to be aimed at Muslims, with some using religious beliefs to justifying defiance of health advisories over the virus.

In one video reviewed by Reuters on April 7, a TikTok user says he is not scared of the coronavirus because, as a Muslim, he is a follower of the Prophet Mohammed and fears only Allah.

In another, a young man throws away a face mask – of the kind being commonly used during the coronavirus outbreak – to put on a Muslim skull cap, and makes a gesture of praying.

Concerns about such content forced India's IT ministry to write to TikTok and Facebook on April 5, the government source said. The letter asks companies to remove users who are spreading misinformation and "preserve" their details for sharing with law enforcement when requested.

"You need to ensure that such rogue messages do not go viral," said the IT ministry's letter.

"(Such messages) have the potential for creating panic... this effectively weakens the all-out effort being made by the Indian government for containing the coronavirus," the letter added.

In a statement, TikTok said it was "actively working with the government to support" their efforts to fight misinformation, while proactively working towards elevating credible information related to Covid-19 on its platform.

Facebook said it was taking "aggressive steps to stop misinformation and harmful content from spreading on our platforms". It said it will remove misinformation about Covid-19, the respiratory disease caused by the coronavirus, that could contribute to imminent physical harm.

Infodemic

The coronavirus crisis has been accompanied by what the World Health Organization has called an "infodemic" of misinformation. Globally, platforms such as Facebook have responded by barring users from posting misleading information about the coronavirus, including denials of expert guidance and encouragement of fake treatments.

India has reported 4,421 coronavirus cases and 115 deaths, and is in lockdown nationwide. The government has been issuing Twitter posts cautioning people against misinformation and debunking fake news.

India's northern state of Uttar Pradesh also raised concerns about "fake news" social media posts on April 7, saying its cyber cell was reviewing at least one Facebook and six TikTok videos. It gave no further details.

"We will definitely take action... We are also sending details to the Indian government from our end," a senior state official, Avanish Kumar Awasthi, told reporters. – Reuters

Article type: metered
User Type: anonymous web
User Status:
Campaign ID: 1
Cxense type: free
User access status: 3
Join our Telegram channel to get our Evening Alerts and breaking news highlights

Misinformation Covid-19

   

Next In Tech News

Exclusive-U.S. battery startup Redwood Materials sets deal with Korea's L&F
Amazon seen triumphing over Apple privacy changes in digital ad business
Digi: Customers may be affected by ongoing system migration issues
Apple adds suppliers to clean-energy pledge, including more chip firms
Amazon delivery contractors sue over ‘unreasonable’ demands
Uber partners with Hertz to offer 50,000 Tesla rentals to U.S. ride-hail drivers
Hackers-for-hire are biggest cybersecurity threat -EU agency
Spotify adds more subscribers, podcasts fuel ad rebound
Top court orders probe of India’s alleged Pegasus use
U.S Federal Trade Commission examining Facebook disclosures - WSJ

Others Also Read


Vouchers