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Viral and violent: The year of fake news mob attacks and lynchings

There is also a new telecom policy on the cards that aims to regulate how data is transmitted

Uttaran Dasgupta 

Not in my name protest, mob lynching

Hate crime in the form of lynching — related to cow protection or fake texts spreading rumours about child abduction — continued unabated this year, forcing the government and private parties to respond with strong measures.

The government has been asking WhatsApp, Facebook and other messenger services to store their data in India; there is also a new telecom policy on the cards that aims to regulate how data is transmitted.

WhatsApp has also limited the number of forwards of a text to five at one time, to check false messages from going viral, and has also started an advertising campaign to make users more aware of how the medium can be misused.

Actual instances of violence, however, have only seemed to gain in intensity as the early December incident in Bulandshahr, which claimed the life of police inspector Subodh Kumar Singh, showed.

Violence engulfed the city in north Uttar Pradesh over rumours of alleged cow slaughter. The pro-Hindutva attitude of the authorities is evidenced by the fact that three suspects were arrested for killing cows, while the killers of the cop are yet to be identified.

First Published: Fri, December 28 2018. 00:44 IST