The government has sent legal notices to four Twitter account holders, directing them represent their case before a committee on September 10 at the office of the Computer Emergency Response Team. The report marks the latest development in the government's attempts to come down heavily on channels, which it believes had a role to play in inciting violence and hatred in the country, leading to the exodus of northeast Indians in the country. LiveMint now reports that Union Home Minister, Sushil Kumar Shinde and Director of the Intelligence Bureau Nehchal Sandhu have sought for immediate steps to enhance cyber security. 

Setting up institutional mechanism to check social networking misuse (Image credit: Getty Images

Coming down heavily on channels inciting hatred (Image credit: Getty Images)

The report adds that the government may register a case against those who resorted to social networking sites such as Twitter and Facebook to spread messages inciting hatred. Going further, the report quoted a high-ranking official as saying, “Notices have been sent to at least four people who have Twitter accounts. These people were sent notices as we are sure of their identities. They have been asked to explain their case before the committee. For the rest, we have written to Google and Facebook asking for details of accounts that hosted such anti-social information, and were blocked… Once we receive information from Google and Facebook, we will send notices to the rest of the people.”

In light of the Assam violence, it had been found that morphed images and videos were uploaded to websites with an aim to incite the Muslim community in the country. 

Reports have also been indicating that a Pakistan-based hardliner group carried out the task of doctoring the images and disseminated them through popular social networks such as Facebook, Twitter and YouTube. A report by the Home Ministry states that the majority of the content appeared online on July 13. Reportedly, fake profiles were created to spread the morphed images. 

The recent turn of events, especially those pertaining to the widespread NE exodus in the country, shed light on the role that social networking websites like Facebook and Twitter play in our lives today. Earlier reports have already established the fact that web pages containing content offensive to the sentiments of those from the North East were splashed across the web in an attempt to incite violence and trigger fear in the country.

In a recent statement, Communications Minister Kapil Sibal stressed on the need of having an institutional mechanism in place to prevent the misuse of social networking websites in the country. “We have to make efforts in consultation with the websites and impress upon them to create an institutional mechanism to prevent misuse of technology,” he was quoted as saying outside the Parliament House. Now, in a step in that direction, the government is working along with social networking websites towards creating an institutional mechanism to check the misuse of social networking websites in the country.

Social networking site, Facebook affirmed recently that it was working with the Indian government in an attempt to remove all “hateful” content from its website. This is the latest in an ongoing exercise by the government to remove offensive material on the Internet that has the potential to cause communal tension in the country.

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