To keep a vigil on incidents of violence resulting from the spread of fake news on social media, the Uttar Pradesh police will set up ‘Digital Armies’ comprising of prominent residents.
As part of the initiative, all the 1,469 police stations in the state will have a WhatsApp group consisting of 250 members including ex-servicemen, teachers, doctors, advocates and journalists among others, UP Director General of Police OP Singh said.
These ‘digital volunteers’ will inform their local police station if they stumble upon fake news on social media and will at the same time, disseminate correct information among the locals to counter the spread of lies.
“A WhatsApp group will be formed at every police police station level. The group will have 250 members, who will share with the police various information, rumours, photographs and videos of their respective area,” Mr Singh said.
“Each of the 1,469 police stations will have the digital volunteers linked through WhatsApp. The group operating at the police station level will be linked to the district WhatsApp group, which would be linked to UP DGP,” he added.
Social media has ushered in communication revolution. On the other, anti-social elements misuse it to spread rumours by spreading fake news, photographs and videos, Mr Singh noted.
The move comes in the wake of the Central government directions to take effective steps to stop the spread of the rumours and fake news.
According to the state police, the application forms to become a digital volunteer are available on their website uppolice.gov.in.
A district level committee under the superintendent of police will select the volunteers and at least two of them will be selected from each ward, locality and village.