NE Exodus: Govt bans bulk SMSes; social media sites come under scanner
The government has imposed a ban on bulk SMSes and MMSes for a period of 15-days in an attempt to stem the spread of rumours that sparked an exodus of North Eastern people from some states. The decision comes in view of reports that SMSes and MMSes having misleading information about the Assam violence and threats to NE people were being widely circulated.
The ban, placed last week, bars users from sending more than five messages in one go and not more than 20KB of data. Union home secretary RK Singh is quoted as saying, “We have banned bulk SMSes and MMSes for 15 days for now. The agencies are also monitoring social networking websites and the Internet to identify people who are spreading rumours.”
According to the official, the move will help the government in taking action against those spreading hate campaigns. The government is monitoring some blogs that are allegedly spreading rumours by putting up morphed photos.
The government is also monitoring content on social media sites to check the spread of rumours. However, the government is reportedly not receiving much cooperation from the social media sites. According to reports, Google and Facebook have refused to reveal the details related to the origin of such messages.
Moreover, the government has blocked as many 89 new websites, bringing the number of the total of restricted websites to 245. On Saturday, the government directed the authorities concerned to block 76 Internet sites, which included web-pages and some websites, for allegedly spreading panic.
"We have found inflammatory and objectionable contents on some pages of Facebook and Google. Some user-accounts at Twitter were also found spreading similar contents. All together, around 80 such pages and accounts have been ordered to be blocked today," the government sources are quoted as saying.
The government, meanwhile, has also asked Pakistan to take action against those who were using social media sites to spark rumours and panic among people hailing from the North East who are living across the country.
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