A fake letter attributed to the National Informatics Centre (NIC) directing a ban on Chinese apps in India is doing the rounds on social media. This comes in the wake of the India-China standoff in Ladakh’s Galwan Valley, as calls for boycotting Chinese products rise across India.
However, we reached out to NIC officials who confirmed that the letter is fake and no such order has been passed by the organisation.
The aforementioned order states that NIC, under the Government of India, has directed the regional executive and representatives of Google India and Apple India to restrict the functioning of Chinese applications from their respective stores as per instructions by the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology (MeitY).
The letter mentioned 15 apps in particular, which include TikTok, Club Factory, Shein, Vivo Video among others.
WHAT WE FOUND
A simple look at the letter raised several red flags regarding its veracity. To begin with, the IT Act 2000 is not divided into volumes but into Chapters and has nothing to do with functioning of mobile applications. Contrary to what the letter claims, Chapter 2 of the Act deals with “authentication of electronic records and electronic signatures.”
Further, the letter misidentifies the regional executives of Google and Apple India. While it mentions one Neha Agarwal as the representative of Google India and Anuj Kr Reddy as that of Apple India, we found that Sanjay Gupta is the Country Manager of Google India and Ashish Choudhary is Apple’s Operation Head in India.
The letter also misspelt MeitY as Moity.
Next, we reached out to NIC officials who confirmed that the letter is fake.
Clearly, an unverified list of apps is being circulated with a fake claim that the Government of India (GoI) has passed orders to ban these apps in the country keeping in mind the rising tensions between India and China along the Line of Actual Control (LAC).
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