WhatsApp: Central government bans 35 WhatsApp groups for misleading stories

New Delhi: The central government on Sunday banned up to 35 WhatsApp groups for spreading false information about the armed forces’ new recruitment program, the Agnipath programme, senior government officials said.

These WhatsApp groups, officials said, were used to coordinate protests that led to violence in some places and some of them had up to 300 members. WhatsApp did not respond to a letter from ET seeking comment on the group ban.

Orders to disband the group were issued by the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology after receiving information from the Interior Ministry, an official said.

The government will closely monitor social media trends over the coming week, another official said, adding that any content inciting violence will be removed.

The orders were issued under Section 69 A of the Information Technology Act. Section 69(A) of the IT Act grants the central government emergency powers to order the removal of any social media content or group if it is “convinced that it is necessary or expedient to do so in interest of sovereignty or integrity of India, defense of India, state security, friendly relations with foreign states or public order or to prevent incitement to commission of any recognized offense relating to the foregoing or to investigate any offence”.

Social media intermediaries are required to comply with orders issued under Article 69 of the Computer Law. The government’s Agnipath program, which aims to recruit for the armed forces for a four-year period, has drawn violent protests from several states in the country.

Discover the stories that interest you

Stay on top of tech news and the startups that matter. Subscribe to our daily newsletter for the latest must-have tech news, delivered straight to your inbox.

Comments are closed.