The government has asked social media companies to immediately remove any content on their platform which mentions or refers to the term ‘Indian variant’ of coronavirus, in a bid to curb spread of misinformation around COVID-19. Digital platforms said they have received the latest advisory.
On Friday, the IT ministry wrote to all social media platforms emphasising that the World Health Organisation (WHO) has not associated the term “Indian Variant” with the B.1.617 variant of the coronavirus in any of its reports. A notice issued in this regard by the IT ministry states that a “false statement” is being circulated online that implies that an ‘Indian variant’ of coronavirus is spreading across the countries.
The IT ministry said the matter has already been clarified by the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare on May 12, 2021 through a press statement. The social media platforms have been asked to “remove all the content that names, refers to, or implies ‘Indian variant’ of corona virus from your platform immediately”.
Previously, the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology had issued advisories regarding curbing of false news/misinformation concerning coronavirus on social media platforms. India is one of the biggest markets for digital platforms like Google, Facebook, and Twitter.
As per data cited by the government, recently, the country has 53 crore WhatsApp users, 44.8 crore YouTube users, 41 crore Facebook users, while 21 crore use Instagram and 1.75 crore are on Twitter. Earlier this year, the government had introduced guidelines to curb the misuse of social media platforms.