Hyderabad police book Twitter, WhatsApp, TikTok for ‘allowing anti-CAA content’

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Srishailam claimed the platforms were collaborating with anti-social elements by circulating a huge number of videos and messages without verifying the content. (Photo for representation)

The Hyderabad police have registered a case against Twitter, WhatsApp and TikTok for allegedly allowing anti-CAA content on their platforms.

The case was registered following directions from the XII Additional Chief Metropolitan Magistrate at Hyderabad.

The complainant in the case, 42-year-old S Srishailam, claimed that after the new citizenship law was enacted, some anti-social elements, 'under the guise of freedom of expression', started a 'social media campaign against the CAA', merging it with the proposed NRC across the country.

The plea submitted before the XII ACMM said such 'anti-social elements were misusing' Twitter, WhatsApp, Tiktok, etc., and the platforms too were collaborating with them by circulating a huge number of videos and messages without verifying the content.

The petitioner said that "by making propaganda of false allegations against the nation and religion, there is a threat to citizens of India." He told the court that he has "identified six mobile numbers that have created more than a thousand WhatsApp groups." He shared information on 26 such WhatsApp groups with the court.

Srishailam claimed he had filed a complaint with the Hyderabad police commissioner on December 21, 2019, but got no positive response.

On February 18, the Cyber Crime branch of Hyderabad police Central Crime Station (CCS) registered a case under sections 153A(Promoting enmity between different groups on ground of religion, race, place of birth, residence, language, etc), 121A, 294, 295A, 505, 120B of IPC r/w 156(3) CrPC, but the matter came to light only on Thursday.

Speaking to indianexpress.com, inspector N Mohan Rao of Cyber Crime PS said that it is a court referral case, and the police are in the process of getting further legal opinion on the matter. "The complainant feels that social media platforms are not taking steps to prevent posting of such content. Platforms are intermediaries, so we will seek legal opinion for further action," he said.

"If anyone has any objection to any content, they can approach the police, following which we send a notice seeking the removal of the content. If the platform refuses to remove it, that is an offence. Otherwise, they do not take full responsibility for all content on their platform," he added.