As the country remains under lockdown, vested interests have turned to the Chinese app TikTok and WhatsApp, to exploit religious sentiments of a certain community to discourage them from practising social-distancing and mask-wearing as part of coronavirus measures.
In a significant development, Whatsapp and TikTok videos have come under the scanner of Delhi police. Taking cognisance of the issue, Delhi Police has prepared a 22-page report and has submitted to other intelligence agencies, especially mentioning that these platforms are being misused to put out certain videos which are essentially in defiance of lockdown.
According to sources, these videos are being spread in various parts of the country, originating from the middle-east and Pakistan. From videos advising people not to follow social distancing rules to those suggesting a specific community is immune to coronavirus.
Moreover, an analysis of around 35,000 videos on social networking sites over the last five days found that most of the fake information and posts are created in Hindi and Urdu for a specific audience Additionally, the parent handlers are being deleted and there is no way to trace the origin, however, the police are trying their best to get the videos deleted from the respective platforms.
Furthermore, the Delhi Police say they have uncovered a concerted misinformation campaign that poses a serious challenge to the government's efforts to contain the ongoing pandemic.
Even though TikTok enjoys record popularity, and makes record revenue, it has become the most divisive app in India's recent history. Last year, TikTok was removed from App Store and Play Store following the government order.
Soon after the outbreak of the videos that grabbed the attention of the officials, TikTok issued an official statement asserting that it condemns all the efforts that led to the misinformation over the pandemic and added that they are systematically removing the provocative content.
"We condemn any and all efforts to spread misinformation and fear regarding the COVID-19 pandemic. We have been monitoring and systematically removing all content from our platform, including video, audio, and image that transgresses government advisories, as well as our own Community Guidelines. We are suspending or banning accounts, and, where necessary, are reporting the accounts to relevant legal authorities to ensure public safety," read the statement.
Meanwhile, according to the data released by the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare on Thursday, there are 2069 confirmed novel Coronavirus cases in the country. Out of this,156 people have recovered while 53 others have passed away. Currently, there are 1860 active COVID-19 cases.