Taking strong exception to the use of the term “Indian variant” to describe the coronavirus strain first found in India, the Centre on Friday asked all social media platforms to remove posts which describe the B.1.617 variant as “Indian”.
The Centre has said that this move is aimed at curbing the spread of misinformation.
On Friday, the IT ministry issued a notification in this regard and said that the use of the term “Indian variant” for the B.1.617 coronavirus strain was baseless because the World Health Organisation (WHO) had never classified it as so.
The notice issued by the IT ministry stated that a "false statement" is being circulated online that implies that an 'Indian variant' of coronavirus is spreading across the world.
The IT ministry said the matter has already been clarified by the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare on May 12, 2021 through a press statement.
The social media platforms have been asked to "remove all the content that names, refers to, or implies 'Indian variant' of corona virus from your platform immediately.”
Previously, the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology had issued advisories regarding curbing of false news/misinformation concerning coronavirus on social media platforms.
India is one of the biggest markets for digital platforms like Google, Facebook, and Twitter.
As per data cited by the government, recently, the country has 53 crore WhatsApp users, 44.8 crore YouTube users, 41 crore Facebook users, while 21 crore use Instagram and 1.75 crore are on Twitter.
Earlier this year, the government had introduced guidelines to curb the misuse of social media platforms.
(With PTI inputs)