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Offensive posts may land WhatsApp, Facebook group admins in jail

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Group administrators have to deny fake messages that can cause religious disharmony.

The local administration of Uttar Pradesh’s Varanasi on Thursday issued an order that allows prosecution against the group administrators for offensive posts in WhatsApp and Facebook groups.

The joint order, issued by District Magistrate (DM) Yogeshwar Ram Mishra and Senior Superintendent of Police (SSP) Nitin Tiwari, said that any factually incorrect post, rumor or misleading information on social media could result in an FIR against the group admins.

“There are several groups on social media which are named on news groups and also groups with other names which are propagating news and information which is not authentic. These are being forwarded without cross checking,” the official order read, PTI reported.

Group administrators have to deny fake messages that can cause religious disharmony and should remove the member from the social media group.

“In the event of inaction from the group admin, he or she will be considered guilty and action will be taken against the group admin,” it read.

However, the order also suggest to consider the orders of the Supreme Court and various high courts while initiating the action and it is not clear about the order’s implementation as social media are not limited to the district’s boundaries.

In December last year, a Delhi High Court order ruled that admins cannot be held liable for content posted by any other member of the group.