A message has gone viral on social media platforms, especially WhatsApp, claiming that the government has released new communication rules for WhatsApp, which is scheduled to be enforced from May 28 Friday.
The viral message reads that the government will now monitor social media and phone calls under the ‘new communication rules’. According to one of these rules, WhatsApp will now record and save all the calls made by users.
The message also states that the government will now be monitoring WhatsApp chats, and any “anti-government” or “anti-religious” message can lead to legal action. The message is being circulated and shared on various platforms, including WhatsApp.
Here is a screenshot of the WhatsApp message claiming that the Modi government has brought in new rules for messaging WhatsApp, which gives the government powers to record texts and calls for better surveillance.
The message also claims that the Government of India will monitor all forms of online and telephonic communications and asked people to not forward messages related to politics, religion or government.
The message further warns people the government will record all phone calls and even social media forums like Facebook and Twitter. If the rules are not followed, the person could even be arrested without any warrant, the viral message claimed.
However, a PIB fact check has termed these claims as absolutely fake. According to PIB, no such rule has been implemented by the Government of India.
“Messages circulating on Social Media reading ‘WhatsApp info regarding √ tick marks’ is #FAKE. #PIBFactCheck: No! The Government is doing no such thing. The message is #FAKE,” PIB had tweeted last year in April when a similar message had gone viral.
#Fake News Alert !— PIB Fact Check (@PIBFactCheck) April 7, 2020
Messages circulating on Social Media reading ‘WhatsApp info regarding √ tick marks’ is #FAKE.#PIBFactCheck : No! The Government is doing no such thing. The message is #FAKE.
Beware of rumours! pic.twitter.com/GAGEnbOLdY
The WhatsApp message is fake, and the same message has been shared earlier too during various instances. The same misleading message had gone viral last year during the nationwide lockdown, triggering panic among citizens. This time the message has appeared when the new Information Technology Rules, 2021, has come into effect from 26th May, which requires messaging apps like WhatsApp to reveal of origin of messages related to serious crimes. However, the claims contained in the message are not part of the new IT Rules. It seems that the fake message has been circulated to spread misleading information regarding the new rules.