Witnessing a huge surge in fake news and misinformation related to new coronavirus (COVID-19) on social media platforms in India, the government has issued an advisory to them, saying it is pertinent on their part to control spread of misinformation on their platforms. The government wrote to top social media companies including Facebook, Google-owned YouTube, Twitter, TikTok, and ShareChat to sanitise their platforms.
"Coronavirus the outbreak has become a global concern and it has been reported that there is a trend of circulation of misinformation and sharing anonymous data related to the virus, creating panic among the public," said the advisory.
The government asked the social media companies to start awareness campaigns and promote authentic information on the new coronavirus.
The government asked social media platforms to make users aware not to upload or circulate false news concerning coronavirus.
Experts have already flagged the there is a deluge of fake information on Facebook and WhatsApp as India fights this global health pandemic.
"Dedicated cybercriminal groups are spreading panic and the Indian government is helpless. Daily supplies are getting over fast as cybercriminals piggybacked on Dr. Trehan's popularity to send fake letter out and created panic," Pavan Duggal, one of the nation's top cyber law experts, told IANS.
Facebook-owned WhatsApp has launched a Coronavirus Information Hub and announced a $1 million donation to the Poynter Institute's International Fact-Checking Network (IFCN).
Facebook said it will put vetted information about novel coronavirus at the top of users' New Feed to tackle the spread of fake health information.
The World Health Organisation (WHO) on Saturday launched a Health Alert on WhatsApp where over 1.5 billion users can ask questions and they will be provided with reliable information about new coronavirus 24/7.