Tamil Nadu

Sharing or re-tweeting ‘hate’ messages can invite action in Tamil Nadu

A police team formed to monitor content in social media has identified a large number of users who have posted provocative messages.

A police team formed to monitor content in social media has identified a large number of users who have posted provocative messages.  

Tamil Nadu Police get social networking sites to remove hundreds of ‘provocative’ messages.

Amid escalating anti-Citizenship (Amendment) Act protests across the State, the Tamil Nadu police have intensified vigil on social media platforms, particularly Twitter, Facebook and Instagram.

Hundreds of “hate” messages posted by known/unknown users that had “potentially violence provoking” content were deleted in recent weeks with the assistance of nodal officers appointed by the social media authorities, sources in the intelligence agency said on Friday.

While security agencies started registering cases against those who posted messages/photographs/videos that could affect peace by inciting violence between two groups of people, action was being planned against those who re-tweeted or shared such posts.

Police were maintaining a dossier of persons who posted or forwarded content that had the potential to disrupt communal harmony and maintenance of law and order, the sources said.

Cyber analytics

An analytical team formed to monitor the flow of content in the social media had identified a large number of users from Tamil Nadu, other States and abroad who posted provocative messages/photographs/videos in the social media.

After ensuring that the content was clearly provocative and prima facie violating the right to freedom of expression, the team would forward the user details and posts to the social media cell for appropriate action, a senior police officer told The Hindu.

“Where the user is an identified person, the team would keep a record of his/her profile, content, re-tweets/forwards for initiating criminal proceedings under the Information Technology Act and then write to the nodal officers (of social media) to remove the posts. In case, the person who posted such objectionable content is unknown, we directly make a request to remove the content and block the user,” the officer who preferred not to be quoted said.

‘Not a gag order’

The police were taking up the matter case-by-case with relevant documents and a brief on how the content was potentially dangerous. Social media administrators were cooperating well by taking prompt action.

“This is not a gag order or an attempt to control or deny the right to freedom of expression.

“We are making sure that hate content identified by the analytical team is verified by senior officers and the opinion of legal advisers is obtained if need be,” the officer said.

Police sources refused to part with details of cases registered in connection with posting/re-tweeting/forwarding or “hate” messages and parried questions of arrests made so far.

Glitches faced

“As of now, we are having some problems dealing with the spread of messages in WhatsApp. Steps have been taken to address the issue as early as possible,” another police officer said and added that the silent operation began soon after the judgment in Ayodhya case and intensified as anti-CAA protests gathered momentum.

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Printable version | Apr 4, 2020 12:24:27 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/tamil-nadu/tamil-nadu-police-intensify-vigil-on-social-media-platforms-as-anti-caa-protests-escalate-across-state/article30884212.ece

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