New Delhi: According to sources, the union government has written to social media companies seeking immediate removal of any content that uses or refers to the term “Indian variant” of Coronavirus from their platform. The step has been taken to curb misinformation around Covid-19.

The IT Ministry has reportedly stressed that the World Health Organization (WHO) has not associated the term “Indian Variant” with the B.1.617 variant of Coronavirus in any of its reports.

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News agency PTI cited sources as informing that a notice has been issued in this regard on Friday by the IT Ministry. It states that a false statement is being spread online which implies that an “Indian variant” of coronavirus is spreading across countries.

Social media platforms have been asked to “remove all the content that names, refers to, or implies Indian variant’ of Coronavirus from your platform immediately,” sources were quoted as saying.

Previously, the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare on May 12 had presented a clarification over the matter through a press release.

“Several media reports have covered the news of World Health Organisation (WHO) classifying B.1.617 as a variant of global concern. Some of these reports have termed the B.1.617 variant of the coronavirus as an ‘Indian Variant’,” the ministry wrote in a statement.

“These media reports are without any basis, and unfounded,” it stated.

Earlier, the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology had issued advisories regarding curbing false news/misinformation concerning coronavirus on social media platforms.

Besides this, the Indian government has objected to Twitter for flagging BJP leaders’ tweets on alleged Congress toolkit as ‘manipulated media’, news agency PTI reported sources as saying.

As per reports, the Union government has asked the micro-blogging site to remove “manipulated media” tag contending that the matter is pending before law enforcement agency. Centre made it clear that the social media platform cannot pass judgment when the issue is under investigation.

The development came hours after Twitter put up a ‘manipulated media’ notification on BJP spokesperson Sambit Patra’s tweet where he posted about the alleged Congress toolkit.

Meanwhile, Congress has said that its stand on the ‘Covid toolkit’ controversy stands validated after Twitter used ‘manipulated media’ tag for Patra’s tweets.



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