Delhi police launches action against 'fake posts' on social media

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New Delhi, Feb 3 (PTI) The Delhi Police has launched action against alleged 'fake posts' on social media platforms related to the violence that broke out on Republic Day during the farmers' tractor protest and has registered four cases in the matter, officials said on Wednesday.

According to police, Om Prakash Dhetarwal (29), a resident of Churu district in Rajasthan, was arrested during the investigation for allegedly posting an old video along with a fake news about the resignation of 200 police personnel. Another person has been apprehended from Bharatpur in Rajasthan for posting a similar fake news.

Four cases have been registered by the Cyber Prevention Awareness and Detection (CyPAD) unit of the force, they said.

The Delhi Police has asked social media platforms to remove posts related to 'malicious social media propaganda undertaken by vested interests'.

An official said that the process of identifying those making such posts has begun and efforts have been launched to arrest them. He added that four people have been issued notices to join the investigation and further action will be taken against them on the basis of their deposition.

The police said they have noticed some social media behaviours in the last few days where fake news is circulating about police firing against the protesters, despite the fact that over 500 police personnel were injured due to restrained action against the violent and rampaging protesters.

'Fake news about resignation by 200 police personnel in support of farmers' protest, and old images and videos of law and order action that are unrelated to the current situation in Delhi are being peddled to generate resentment against the administration,' Delhi Police PRO Chinmoy Biswal said.

The police said that public safety measures such as barricading and preventive steps such as restrictions on 4G Internet in affected hotspots are being projected as preparations for a large-scale crackdown.

'Bogus claims' and conjectures are being made causing disrepute and doubts about bonafide legal processes such as a post-mortem report generated by a medical board, they said.

The malicious social media propaganda undertaken by vested interests is primarily aimed at regaining support after the public backlash caused due to the unprovoked violence perpetrated by the protesters during tractor rally at ITO, Red Fort and other places in the city, in which more than 500 police personnel got injured, Biswal said.

It is further observed that several social media accounts being used to push false and alarming narratives are without any account biodata which is the behaviour generally observed in bot accounts, he said.

In many posts, the attached media is also observed to be edited and manipulated and the same is being pushed in the guise of news reports along with inciteful and alarming hashtags, police said.

As part of investigation of these cases, the accounts or handles that have posted these 'fake, offensive, provocative' content have been escalated to the concerned OTT platforms for getting their basic subscriber information and also for their removal, he said.

The police have advised citizens to avoid sharing or posting any fake news and unverified content on social media.

Thousands of protesting farmers had clashed with the police during the tractor rally called by farmer unions on January 26 to highlight their demand for repeal of the Centre's three farm laws.

Many of the protesters, driving tractors, reached the Red Fort and entered the monument. Some protesters even hoisted religious flags on its domes and the flagstaff at the ramparts, where the national flag is unfurled by the prime minister on Independence Day. PTI NIT NIT AAR AAR