VIJAYAWADA: The police crackdown on “objectionable content” is sending ripples across social media.
Many WhatsApp groups are shutting down as their administrators are being held responsible for the content being circulated in the group.
WhatsApp groups, particularly those with caste and political orientation, have slowed down after cases against a WhatsApp administrator in Bengaluru and Political Punch Facebook administrator Inturi Ravi Kumar.
Administrators are being held responsible for even content posted by members of the group. Sometimes this content goes viral without the administrator’s knowledge in a short time as group members sharing with other groups.
Many groups were formed in support of the Kapu reservation movement. Even for Tuni meeting, enthusiasts circulated messages in support of the movement.
The police, after the arson, focused on social media messages that were circulated before the meeting to trace those involved in the arson.
The police have only focused on identifying actual persons involved in burning the train but did not take any action against social media groups.
But the latest development of making administrators responsible for content generated from their groups has forced some of them to close groups.
Social media groups formed in support of the Kapu movement have been deleted.
These groups used to circulate messages in support of Kapu reservation but often against the government. The administrator, seeking anonymity, said it was next to impossible to control the content coming from the members of the group.
“We are not afraid of the threat from the government but making the administrator responsible for every message is objectionable,” said the administrator of another group, K. Bhaskar.
Even on Facebook, many pages and users that were vocal are keeping silent after the two cases.
A Telugu Desam leader and a keen follower of social media trends, Neelayapalem Vijay Kumar said: “Though the animosity between the two political orientations remained the same, use of filthy language to malign the image of leaders on both sides has come down.”
He observed that people are maintaining restraint while choosing their words and morphing of images was not seen these days, especially after the Political Punch administrator was booked.
- 120 WhatsApp groups, started during Kapu reservation movement, deleted after cases on administrator in Bengaluru.
- Usage of filthy language and morphed pictures has come down on social media
- Netizens are restraining from sharing content on social media groups
- Though 66A was scraped, the police can book cases under 153, 500, and 505(2) if the content is derogatory in nature and can incite violence between two groups
Confusion prevails over what is legal
Everything goes viral on social media. A message warning administrators of WhatsApp groups is being circulated after the arrest of a Bangalore man for incriminating posts on Prime Minister Narendra Modi. The message explains legal ramifications and has gone viral in WhatsApp and Telegram groups over the last few days.
Netizens are in a quandary as they can’t decide which message could attract legal action.
The warning message says the administrator and originating member of the group are responsible and can be punished with 2 to 5 years in jail.
Even those who used to share movie gossips and jokes related to movie stars are toned down these days. V. Sashank, a B.Tech student, said: “I am a movie buff and used to share jokes on movie stars with my friends and on my Facebook wall. But I am restraining myself these days as I do not want to get into trouble.”
Deputy director of prosecutions B. Rama Koteswar Rao said the law permits to book cases even under IPC if the content is incriminating in nature.
He said the police need not book cases under IT Act as there are provisions in IPC too. Section 153, 500 and 505(2) will hold even on social media campaigns that incite violence and are derogatory in nature....