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Fact Check: Can Police Take Action Against Whatsapp Group Admins For COVID-19 Based Jokes?

Fact Check: A recent post being shared on Whatsapp claims that the police can take action against the group admins if there are jokes posted on coronavirus.

fact check

While people are staying at home and spending time doing random activities to keep themselves occupied, there has been a sudden surge of fake news and information being circulated on social media websites. People are sharing posts and making them viral, which includes news that is false. These can have a wrong impact on many people. A recent rumour that reached many groups on Whatsapp claimed that the Government has issued an advisory against group admins and members if anyone posts a joke on coronavirus.

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Claim:

A recent Whatsapp forward that has been haunting the dreams of many Whatsapp admins claims that the police is ready to take action against people who post jokes on coronavirus. The Whatsapp forward claims that the group admins are requested to close the group for 2 days as police can take action against the group members and the admin under sections 68, 140 and 188. The message also talks about how everyone could be in trouble.

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Rating: Fake

The message posted on Whatsapp is fake. The Press Information Bureau's Twitter account for Fact-Checking posted that the claim is fake. There has been no advisory or order by the Government that talks about this.

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No legal action can be taken against group admins

Origin:

The Whatsapp forward message claims that the admin needs to close the group for 2 days. This might have made many wonder, "How to close a WhatsApp Group?". It is important to note that a Whatsapp group cannot be temporarily closed for a few days. One can only delete the group, remove somebody from the group and exit the group. Another important thing to note in the message is that it claims three sections: 68, 140 and 188. While the section numbers are given, there is no mention of which act or article it is a part of. 

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