West Bengal govt: new law to tackle fake news on social media

West Bengal govt: new law to tackle fake news on social media

The West Bengal government is considering a new law to tackle the hazards of fake news and posts on social media platforms. Fake news, morphed photographs, the pictorial representation can hamper peace and cause nation-wide tensions contributing to unrest in many parts of the country.

According to THE WEEK reports, a Home Department official said that the state government intends to bring more clarity on the nature of the offence and punishment for those responsible for spreading fake news and posting morphed photographs with an aim to disrupt peace and communal harmony or spread hatred in society.

The West Bengal government has been preparing a data bank on fake news circulated on social media in the state and other parts of the country in the past couple of years besides, keeping records of past offenders while framing the new law, he said.

This decision was triggered after continuous reports on fake news, rumours been circulated on social networking sites.

Social media platforms have advantages along with disadvantages. It connects society but at the same time, it can be harmful as it is capable of causing disruption in a region. Character assassination, rumours are also sometimes politically motivated.

According to THE ASIAN AGE, in West Bengal people who are found responsible for posting fake news and morphed photographs with the intent of causing fear or alarm among the public or commit an offence against the state or against public tranquillity are booked under Sections 505(1)(b) of the Indian Penal Code (IPC), he said.

Police have identified several paid Twitter handles and Facebook accounts which are constantly being used in a different manner for such posts, he said.

"They have also identified how funds are routed through different channels to pay these people who were handling fake Twitter handle and Facebook accounts and sharing fake news, photographs, pictorial representations and articles," he said.

"But we need to find out whether the posts are made deliberately or inadvertently. We also need to find out whether the posts are made only for fun or there is any wrongful gain by the person. We have to find out the motive of the person and depending on that he would be charged," he said.

"A separate law for this purpose will help us in dealing with posts on social networking sites violating norms and disturbing harmony in society. This will give us a clarity in understanding the nature of the crime or the intention of the person responsible for his or her posts as well as bringing charges against him," he said.

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