A WhatsApp group admin in India has courted trouble for circulating morphed images of Prime Minister Narendra Modi. The 30-year-old man was reportedly arrested in the state of Karnataka, and later released on bail.
As strange as it may sound, two Indian state governments had issued directives last year, saying that social media admins were liable for content circulated in groups. Though the rule was overturned by the Delhi High Court last December, this arrest signals otherwise.
According to the cops, a photograph of Modi was morphed “to look ugly and obscene” and was shared a member of the ‘The Balse Boys’ group. But a complaint was lodged against the admin.
WhatsApp is the most popular messaging service in India with over 160 million monthly active users. It cuts across class, caste, community and other social divides. And for the Facebook-owned company, India is its the biggest market. Hence, any rules or laws pertaining to its usage could have far-reaching implications.
Last October, in a similar incident, a group admin was held. BJP (India’s ruling party) leaders had gathered at a police station in Uttar Pradesh to file a complaint against the man, who was allegedly overseeing objectionable posts against Modi.
People don’t seem too pleased with the development.
I’ve been made Group Admin on the family WhatsApp group. But I want to leave it. Tense. 😔
— Mtho Wa Bantu (@Mthaux) April 22, 2017
Well, time to be careful of what you share!