A WhatsApp group admin in India has courted trouble for circulating morphed images of Prime Minister Narendra Modi. The 30-year-old man was reportedly arrested in the state of Karnataka, and later released on bail.
As strange as it may sound, two Indian state governments had issued directives last year, saying that social media admins were liable for content circulated in groups. Though the rule was overturned by the Delhi High Court last December, this arrest signals otherwise.
According to the cops, a photograph of Modi was morphed "to look ugly and obscene" and was shared a member of the 'The Balse Boys' group. But a complaint was lodged against the admin.
WhatsApp is the most popular messaging service in India with over 160 million monthly active users. It cuts across class, caste, community and other social divides. And for the Facebook-owned company, India is its the biggest market. Hence, any rules or laws pertaining to its usage could have far-reaching implications.
Last October, in a similar incident, a group admin was held. BJP (India's ruling party) leaders had gathered at a police station in Uttar Pradesh to file a complaint against the man, who was allegedly overseeing objectionable posts against Modi.
People don't seem too pleased with the development.
If a stupid law exists, people will use it
WhatsApp group admin booked 4 adding member who posted morphed pic of PM https://t.co/rBLzhZpIR1
— Harini Calamur (@calamur) May 2, 2017
@HuffPostIndia The so called gau rakshaks don't get booked for murder but a person gets booked for taking a dig at PM Midi.
— Gavin (@gawinsouza) May 3, 2017
@ajjuns @parth_utters Would rather be in a WhatsApp group with Erdogan and Kim Jong rather than miraj and Sahil as admin
— Very Old Lady (@DaysofCondor) May 3, 2017
I've been made Group Admin on the family WhatsApp group. But I want to leave it. Tense. ?
— Mtho Wa Bantu (@Mthaux) April 22, 2017
Well, time to be careful of what you share!