Remove “concocted fake news” from Facebook, YouTube: HC

The High Court today (August 30, 2022) ordered relevant authorities to remove Facebook posts and YouTube videos containing “false and concocted news that incites violence and public disorder” in Bangladesh.

Bangladesh Telecommunications Regulatory Commission and Facebook, YouTube authorities were told to comply with the order and submit a report to the HC in two weeks.

The HC also asked the BTRC and the Digital Security Agency to formulate an accountability mechanism to prevent the dissemination of such Facebook posts and YouTube videos containing misinformation that incites violence.

The Bench of Judge Md Khasruzzaman and Judge Md Iqbal Kabir issued the order after hearing a written motion regarding this issue.

Two lawyers – Nilufer Anjum and Md Ashraful – recently filed the motion for writ as a public interest litigation with the HC seeking the necessary orders on this matter.

Earlier on August 21, Supreme Court lawyer Arafat Hosen Khan sent a legal notice on behalf of Nilufer and Ashraful to authorities, asking them to remove Facebook posts and YouTube videos containing concocted false information that incites violence and public disorder in the country in 48 years. hours.

The attorney served the notice on Facebook; Sabhanaz Rashid Diya, Public Policy Manager, Bangladesh, Facebook; Youtube; as well as several government agencies, including the Chairman of the Bangladesh Telecommunications Regulatory Commission (BTRC); Managing Director, Digital Security Agency; and the Inspector General of Police (IGP) for taking the necessary steps to this effect.

Lawyer Arafat Hosen Khan said in the legal notice that the recipients of the notice failed to fulfill their legal obligations to regulate, monitor, suppress and remove content from online social and/or digital media platforms bearing attack on the sovereignty, integrity and security of the State; public order; and misleading information tarnishing the image of state bodies.

In their legal notice, it said that in the recent past, it has been observed that Facebook and YouTube have not applied any monitoring or control mechanism over its content, especially in Bangladesh, while a large number of fake news, content, images, videos – damaging images of various political figures, intellectuals, tarnishing the image of Bangladesh as a nation, exposing various sensitive issues relating to international policies – are disseminated through various Facebook users and YouTube subscribers in and outside Bangladesh with the aim of damaging the country’s image.

“Using Facebook and YouTube as media, a number of Facebook users (both individually and in groups) and YouTube users and subscribers are spreading rumors and propaganda to embarrass the government,” says the opinion.

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