Maharashtra Cyber cell to monitor social platforms ahead of Ayodhya verdict
The Maharashtra Cyber police has formed a special team to monitor social media platforms to ensure that no inflammatory comments or messages are circulated for spreading hatred ahead of the Supreme Court’s ruling on Ram Janmabhoomi-Babri Masjid title dispute.
The verdict on the communally sensitive issue is expected before Chief Justice of India Ranjan Gogoi retires on November 17.
The Maharashtra Cyber department will be gathering intelligence inputs and will also report to the concerned state police if any inflammatory posts are found to be originating from the concerned state.
“Our team consists of 10 officers and men from Maharashtra Cyber cell. We will be monitoring all social media platforms to ensure they are not misused to spread rumours, hate speeches, or create tension between two religions or groups to incite violence etc which may lead to a law and order problem. We may book offenders who attempt to disrupt law and order under the existing legal provisions,” said Brijesh Singh, special inspector general, Maharashtra Cyber police.
The cyber police team will operate from a social media lab housed in the World Trade Centre at Cuffe Parade having requisite computer networks, software and a panel of technical experts that will assist them in monitoring social media.
“We have been given certain keywords that we will use to identify troublemakers on social media and the key words will also help us to search for inflammatory posts. Furthermore, we have already identified and short-listed a certain number of individuals and trolls who indulge in such activities,” said a member of the team.
Dr Balsing Rajput, Superintendent, Maharashtra Cyber, said, “We will make use of sophisticated tools which will flag communal posts and hate speeches, fake news. Social media platforms like Twitter and Facebook, messaging apps, and video sharing platforms like YouTube are mostly will be under our scanner. We will report objectionable posts to concerned police stations in Maharashtra and elsewhere so as to maintain law and order. We will also ensure that strictest possible action is taken against the offenders.”
When asked if the privacy of any individual will be compromised by their monitoring, Rajput clarified, “We will observe the posts in public domain which are available for everyone on these platforms. We do not intend to monitor personal chats in close groups or invade anyone’s privacy.”
Rajput also clarified that the special team will not look into individual opinions or political commentary on various issues and will be restricted strictly to the posts having potential to incite violence or spread communal hatred
During legislative assembly elections, state cyber department had flagged over 400 objectionable posts and got them blocked by reporting the issue to the concerned authorities of social media platforms.
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