While the world battles the Chinese coronavirus pandemic, we in India have our own set of demons to fight. Many social media influencers, including former journalists, filmmakers and even doctors have taken to social media in the past few days to misuse this opportunity to panic monger and stoke communal tensions.
In response to it, the Government of India on Saturday asked Twitter to remove such problematic posts from its platform, lest it lead to a dangerous situation.
While the leftist media has cried foul and claimed that the govt of India trying to stop them from spreading dangerous misinformation is an attack on their freedom of speech, the truth is far from it. Here are some of the sample tweets and social media posts that were asked to be removed.
Filmmaker Avinash Das, who directed Swara Bhaskar starrer Anarkali of Arrah, shared an old, unrelated video of patients and claimed it was from Gujarat.
Mocking the Gujarat model, Das claimed that the above image was from Tapi district in Gujarat where patients were being treated in tents. However, this image was from Navapur, Maharashtra.
As can be seen, the above video is from Navapur, Maharashtra and not Gujarat.
Since the filmmaker shared a fake image, his tweet was asked to be removed as it may have led to panic and fear amongst Gujarat residents, especially Tapi district.
Similarly, filmmaker Vinod Kapri, too, shared an unrelated video of a funeral pyre and claimed that every house has become a cremation ground.
Vinod Kapri was earlier accused by his colleague of faking an adoption story of a girl child for self promotion and marketing of his film. In April 2020, at the beginning of pandemic, he was found spreading falsehoods regarding availability of PPE kits and protective gear.
His tweet now stands removed.
Kafeel Khan, a controversial doctor who is an accused in the Gorakhpur tragedy, shared an unrelated image of funeral pyres as well. He appears to have deleted his tweet.
Political activist Hansraj Meena on 12th April 2021 tweeted that all through the coronavirus pandemic, neither did he buy a mask or has he worn one. “In one year, I have been to 30 big cities across the country. I am not afraid of this stupid illness. Nor do I scare my people or make them appear cowards,” he tweeted claiming that coronavirus is a conspiracy.
The hashtag was trending on Twitter with thousands of tweets and retweets. More and more people joined in to claim that coronavirus is a conspiracy. One Twitter user Masoom Kaify claimed that coronavirus may be a conspiracy to bring down human population and was deliberately spread.
Similarly, one Twitter user K S Siddiqui claimed that neither has he followed any rule and neither has anyone he knows has ever heard of this illness called ‘coronavirus’. “I have heard it only in TV,” he tweeted adding that Coronavirus is a conspiracy.
One more person tagging Hansraj Meena had questioned the need of coronavirus vaccine while claiming coronavirus is a conspiracy. Thus, quite clearly, the Government of India asked Twitter to remove the tweets for spreading misinformation.
Twitter had earlier adopted an abrasive stance during the farmer protests saying that they won’t remove tweets which could create a law and order situation in the country. The Indian Government was not pleased with the stance and made it clear that the social media platform had to obey domestic laws.
Since then, Twitter appears to have softened its stand.