The central government has asked social media companies to ensure that their platforms are not being misused to spread content against India.
This directive comes in after the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology (MeitY) asked search company Google and its video platform YouTube to take down videos related to Wing Commander Abhinandan Varthaman who was captured by Pakistan during aerial combat on February 26.
According to an ET report, MeitY had asked YouTube to remove 11 specific video links saying that it has the potential to incite public order and peace in the country. The ministry also directed Google to ensure that similar videos are taken down and also share a compliance report.
Union Minister for Electronics and Information Technology Ravi Shankar Prasad has said that the search company had immediately complied with the government directive.
This step may be a need of the hour as both India and Pakistan have been countering each other on social media after surgical strike 2.0 leading to a rise of a social media battle.
Just yesterday, Inc42 reported that misinformation and fake news posts fueling the India-Pakistan crisis were all over the major social media platforms. For instance, videos from previous air shows and photos of fighter jets were being posted from both the countries with misleading titles implying that the two countries were launching counter strikes.
Moreover, Tweets with hashtags such as #BalakotAirStrike, #BringbackAbhinandan, #SayNoToWar, #MiG21, #F16, #PakFakeClaim #PakistanPM had been trending across the internet.
According to Jency Jacob, the managing editor of fact-checking website BOOM, there was a lot of panic in the social media sites after Pakistan took an aggressive stance.
Tensions between both countries began after the ghastly Pulwama terror attack on February 14 when a convoy of vehicles carrying 40 Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) jawans was attacked by a suicide bomber from Pakistan-based terror group Jaish-e-Mohammed.
In response, India conducted a surgical strike on Pakistan,12 days after the terror attack.
India also revoked Pakistan’s “Most Favoured Nation” (MFN) status which was given to the country in 1996 and raised the customs duty to 200% on all goods exported from Pakistan to India.
The control of widespread of fake news and misinformation is necessary especially at a time when both the countries are at a brink of war. False posts and war mongering will only incite more aggressiveness among the countries.