A petition has been filed in the Supreme Court seeking a direction to the Centre for appropriate steps to link social media accounts with Aadhaar, the 12-digit unique identification number, to check the menace of "fake and paid news".
The plea, which seeks to weed out the duplicate, fake and ghost social media accounts, wants the government to link the profiles on such platforms, including those on Facebook and Twitter, with Aadhaar and has sought a direction to the Election Commission and the Press Council of India for suitable steps to control fake and paid news.
The petition filed by lawyer Ashwini Upadhyay seeks a direction to the Centre to deactivate the duplicate and fake social media accounts in order to control fake and paid news.
The plea, moved through advocate Ashwini Kumar Dubey, also sought directions to the Centre for apposite steps to declare publication of paid news and political advertisements 48 hours before an election as a "corrupt practice" under the Representation of People Act, 1951.
It claimed that 10 per cent of the 3.5 crore Twitter handles were duplicate, which included hundreds in the names of eminent people such as chief ministers and even the president and the prime minister of the country.
The plea also said millions of Facebook accounts were bogus, which used real photos of constitutional authorities and were used to promote casteism, communalism and separatism, endangering national integration and were also the root cause of several riots.
The plea sought linking of social media accounts with Aadhaar, saying those "offend the right to know" as fake and paid news influenced choice in a "negative manner".
"Exposure to accurate information is a necessity for electors to make an informed choice, but fake news has the tendency to influence this choice in a negative manner. The publication of fake news involves use of black money, under-reporting of election expenses of political parties and candidates and indulging in other kinds of malpractice," the petition said.
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