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Indian Government Has Not Issued Any Guideline To Monitor Citizens Activity, Fake Advisory Resurfaced

Claim

A WhatsApp forward is being shared frequently and many readers are sending the same to us for a fact-check. The WhatsApp forward warns against spreading misinformation on any of the messaging or social media platforms. As per the viral forward, the claims made are authentic and our activities on various social media platforms and messaging apps are being monitored and anyone indulging in spreading misinformation, fake news or misleading information will be punished as per the law of the land. 

Here’s what the viral forward reads,

“From tomorrow onwards there are new communication regulations. All calls are recorded. All phone call recordings saved. WhatsApp is monitored. Twitter is monitored. Facebook is monitored. All social media and forums are monitored. Inform those who do not know. Your devices are connected to ministry systems. Take care not to send unnecessary messages. Inform your children, Relatives and friends about this to take care. ​​Don’t forward any posts or videos etc., you receive regarding politics/present situation about Government/PM etc.​​ Police have put out a notification termed ..Cyber Crime … and action will be taken…just don’t delete … Inform your friends & others too. Writing or forwarding any msg on any political & religious debate is an offence now….arrest without warrant… This is very serious, plz let it be known to all our groups and individual members as group admin can be in deep trouble. Take care not to send unnecessary messages.

Inform everyone about this to take care. Please share it; it’s very much true. Groups please be careful.”

Verification

As we read the viral WhatsApp forward, we noticed one suspicious claim that is the introduction of the term ‘CyberCrime’ as the term has existed for long now. Hence from our initial observation, the claim turned out to be suspicious. Using the content of the viral forward, we performed a Google search and found that the said viral forward keeps resurfacing as multiple posts have been made using the same claim between 2017 and 2020. What is more surprising is that between 2017 and 2019, the claim has not just been shared by Indian social media users but users from other countries have shared this claim as well, below is a glimpse of how the same claims keep resurfacing.

A Twitter user has shared the same claim on November 24, 2017.

A Twitter user named ‘Samina Pathan’ from Canada shared the same claim on November 26, 2017.

A Twitter user from Pakistan’s Karachi shared the same claim on November 26, 2017.

A Twitter user from the UK shared the same claim on February 12, 2018.

A Twitter user from Kenya shared the same claim on October 22, 2019.

A Twitter user from India shared the same claim on February 19, 2020.

A Twitter user shared the same claim on March 25, 2020.

Hence it is evident from the messages above that the claim is old and it keeps resurfacing from time to time. To check the authenticity of the claim, we checked the official Twitter handle of Cyber Dost and we found no mention of any such advisory or regulation.

We also checked the official website of Cyber Crime department that comes under Home Ministry that is responsible for the implementation of law and maintenance of law and order in the country and similar to the Twitter handle of Cyber Dost, we found no information on the official website of the Home Ministry as well.

Additionally, we found a report published by Bloomberg Quint that informs that the Indian Government has launched a WhatsApp chatbot to take on the misinformation being amplified on the messaging app.

India Launches WhatsApp Chatbot To Curb Fake News On Coronavirus

Coronavirus India News: The WhatsApp chatbot, ‘MyGov Corona Helpdesk’, can be accessed by sending a text to +91 90131 51515. It will answer various Covid-19 FAQs, including symptoms of the disease, precautions against coronavirus, helpline numbers and active cases in a user’s region.

We also checked the advisories issued by the Indian Home Ministry but we could not find any mention of the claims made in the viral forward.

Hence it is proved in our investigation that the viral forward is ‘Fake’ and the Indian government has not issued any guidelines to monitor the activities of its citizens on various social media and messaging platforms.

Sources

  • Indian Government
  • Google Search

Result: Fake

(If you would like us to fact check a claim, give feedback or lodge a complaint, WhatsApp us at 9999499044. You can also visit the Contact Us page and fill the form)

Saurabh Pandey
Saurabh Pandey
A self-taught social media maverick, Saurabh realised the power of social media early on and began following and analysing false narratives and ‘fake news’ even before he entered the field of fact-checking professionally. He is fascinated with the visual medium, technology and politics, and at Newschecker, where he leads social media strategy, he is a jack of all trades. With a burning desire to uncover the truth behind events that capture people's minds and make sense of the facts in the noisy world of social media, he fact checks misinformation in Hindi and English at Newschecker.
Saurabh Pandey
Saurabh Pandey
A self-taught social media maverick, Saurabh realised the power of social media early on and began following and analysing false narratives and ‘fake news’ even before he entered the field of fact-checking professionally. He is fascinated with the visual medium, technology and politics, and at Newschecker, where he leads social media strategy, he is a jack of all trades. With a burning desire to uncover the truth behind events that capture people's minds and make sense of the facts in the noisy world of social media, he fact checks misinformation in Hindi and English at Newschecker.

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