Coronavirus: UP puts social media under scanner to curb fake news

The Centre has already served a notice to TikTok and other social media platforms with a view to curbing the fake news, especially during the lockdown period
To curb the menace of fake news during the ongoing coronavirus lockdown, the Uttar Pradesh government has put the various social media platforms under the scanner.

So far, the government, which has set up a dedicated social media wing for the purpose, has taken the cognisance of 54 such cases in the state for action. These social media posts pertain to popular platforms including Facebook, Twitter, TikTok etc.

“We are taking action on the basis of complaints filed against the social media posts,” UP additional chief secretary Awanish Kumar Awasthi said here this evening and warned that first information reports (FIR) would be filed in these matters.

He said the Centre had already served a notice to TikTok and other social media platforms with a view to curbing the fake news, especially during the lockdown period.

Yesterday, he had said a number of fake news and material circulating on TikTok had coe to light in UP and the government had been talking to the TikTok officials and also the central government for possible action.

In fact, the state police had filed an FIR in Jaunpur district regarding an alleged fake news case. The government had also suspended a gram panchayat official in Hardoi district under similar charges.

Meanwhile, a total of 314 coronavirus positive cases have been identified across 37 districts in UP, of which 22 had been discharged after treatment. Of these, the Tablighi Jamaat gathering in Delhi accounted for 166 cases, which is more than 50 per cent of the total cases.

Of the nearly 1,600 Tablighi members identified in the state, 1,297 have been quarantined and the authorities are in the process of tracking down the remaining Tablighi members for the same. The police have filed 42 FIRs across 20 districts in this regard.

Besides, 323 foreigners, who had attended the Jamaat convention in Delhi, have been identified, of which the passport of 259 persons have already been confiscated, while 64 others were found to be Nepali citizens, who do not require passport to enter India. 

Meanwhile, the police have lodged 10,803 FIRs under Section 188 of the Indian Penal Code (IPC) for defying the lockdown orders pertaining to the Epidemic Diseases Act, 1897. More than 12 million vehicles have been checked, 2.6 million vehicles challaned, of which more than 17,000 vehicles were seized. The police also collected fines totalling nearly Rs 5 crore from these offenders.

Besides, the government is clamping down upon black marketers of essential commodities, especially food. So far, the police have filed 230 FIRs and booked more than 250 persons accused across the state. The accused would not only be put behind bars, but their stock would be seized and they would not be allowed to engage in any business activity in future.

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