Last November, the Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) had expressed concerns to the government over the circulation of false and malicious videos on various social media platforms regarding the safety and quality of food available in the country. It had also requested the Ministry of Electronics and IT (MeitY) to sensitise social media platforms on the large-scale implications of such false propaganda and to put in place a system for tracking fake messages so that perpetrators could be brought to book.
Taking cognizance of the above, MeitY has started reaching out to social media giants. "It has come to our notice that some miscreants are misusing various social-media platforms for circulating fake and objectionable material, including false and malicious videos regarding safety and quality of food available in India," an official of the IT ministry said in separate written communications to Google and Facebook, The Times of India reported.
The letter reportedly cited specific instances such as creating false scare of plastic eggs, plastic rice and melamine in milk. "One specific fake video which went viral on social media related to the presence of melamine in milk, wherein it was maliciously projected that FSSAI had given permission for use of melamine in the milk," the letter added.
Sources told the daily that the ministry has now asked the companies to immediately remove such content and block the accounts of people who are uploading the videos. "Such fake and malicious videos erode the public's confidence about the institutions in India which are performing their job with due diligence," said the MeitY letter sent to the social media companies.
The ministry reportedly also directed the companies to institute a system as part of their due diligence for prevention of uploading such imagery, videos or text.
(Edited by Sushmita Choudhury Agarwal)