As India comes together to fight a deadly second wave of the Covid-19 pandemic, misinformation and inflammatory content are free-flowing on social media platforms. Liberals are making use of these unprecedented times to lie about the Modi government’s efforts to fight the pandemic, and are spreading all sorts of falsities to stir panic across the country. Sadly for them, the Modi government is in no mood to give them a long rope and has now initiated a crackdown against all anti-social elements using social media platforms, particularly Twitter, for fearmongering ordinary Indians.
The Centre issued orders to take down over 100 “inflammatory” posts and accounts across Twitter, Facebook and Instagram related to Covid-19 on Saturday. According to sources quoted by the Hindustan Times, “Covid related posts that showed photos of cremations that were incendiary, inflammatory messages that could incite the public and lead to assaults on healthcare personnel are among those that have been blocked.”
Affected accounts included those of Congress MP Revanth Reddy, TMC’s Moloy Ghatak, a West Bengal state minister, two filmmakers – Vinod Kapri and Avinash Das, and Mamata Banerjee Supporters (FAM) on Twitter. Flagged posts by these accounts have been blocked by Twitter in India.
On its part, Twitter has said that it has blocked 52 tweets for which it received orders from the government, and is said to be deliberating on the further course of action. However, if the Twitter-Modi government spat of early this year is anything to go by, the microblogging platform has learnt its lessons thoroughly and will comply with the government’s directives. The emergency blocking orders, under Section 69 (A) of the Information Technology Act, were issued by the ministry of electronics and information technology on Friday and the full order came into force on Saturday. “All orders have been issued as they constitute content misinformation,” the official quoted by HT added.
Liberals, meanwhile, are not being able to stomach the fact that their misinformation campaign aimed at stoking panic across India is being nipped in the bud by the Modi government. It is therefore not surprising that TMC MP Derek O’Brien, who is quite an alleged liberal mascot himself, took to saying, “MO-SHA are fascists. We have been saying that for a while. Losers cannot handle criticism…Why are we all getting angry that they blocked Twitter accounts. They block oxygen from gasping citizens.” Other liberal reactions included:
— Akshay Sharma (@akshayhimself) April 25, 2021
— Md Asif Khan (@imMAK02) April 25, 2021
India is running out of oxygen, Covid-19 patients are dying & the PRIORITY of Modi govt is to shut the voices which are amplying for those people who are dying.
Everything is about image management for them.
— Madhu ✋ (@Vignesh_TMV) April 25, 2021
Among the list of accounts banned is Mamata Banerjee’s verified Facebook page ‘Banglar Gorbo Mamata’, having a follower base of 2.6 million users. The account often shares posts that propagate liberal ideals and recently even shared a video by actor Nakuul Mehta who mounted a baseless attack against the government for its handling of the COVID-19 pandemic.
The development should serve as a reminder to liberals to mind their language and tone as the country fights a crisis. They can surely criticise the government, but spreading lies, misinformation, fake news, old and unrelated images to paint a doomsday picture will rest assured invite strict action against them.