(Editor's Note: This story was first published on 20 February 2019 and is being republished after a similar claim about the Central government recording WhatsApp calls started going viral on social media again.)
A viral message on WhatsApp claims that all social media interactions – on Twitter, Whatsapp, Facebook, Instagram etc – will be recorded by the government. Phone conversations will also be saved as “all your devices are connected to ministry systems”.
The message goes on to warn against posting anything anti-government or anti-Modi messages, or any political or religious message at all, as it will lead to an arrest without a warrant under cyber crime.
The message has been picked up again recently, and is doing the rounds primarily as a WhatsApp forward. It is also cropping up again across other social media sites.
TRUE OR FALSE?
As with the earlier versions of this message, this also is false. There is no notification on the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India or the Department of Telecommunications’ websites, and neither has there been any other communication in this regard from the authorities.
The Quint reached out to the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) and will update this story with their response.
Speaking to The Quint, Rajan S Mathews, Director General Cellular Operators Association of India (COAI) said, “We have received no such instructions and I have not heard anything about this.”
The message is a rehashed version of a WhatsApp forward that has been doing the rounds on social media since 2017. The earlier version mentioned a fictional Ministry of Internal Regulation in India, but the current message has done away with that line as it was the basis of debunking the hoax.
WebQoof had previously reported on the claim and called it out for being fake in 2018.
It was originally spread in Ghana and had been proven false there by the Ghanaian Government in 2017. Chief Director Adelaide Anno-Kumi and Minister Ambrose Dery of the Ministry of Interior issued official statements regarding the fake news.
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