The Indian government has asked social media companies like Twitter, Facebook and Instagram to remove all posts referring to one of the new coronavirus strains as an “Indian variant”.
In a notice released Friday, the country’s Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology (MEITY) said publications mentioning the “Indian variant” are fake news. The ministry reasoned that the strain is officially known as B.1.617, so there is no need to attach a geographic label.
The ministry also wrote a letter on social media earlier this month to curb misinformation and impose COVID-19-related accounts.
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Although the World Health Organization (WHO) has classified B.1.617 as a “variant of global concern,” the health agency’s guidelines for denomination disorders discourage associating country or place names with a disease. .
Various media outlets have colloquially referred to some strains as “the British strain” or “the South African strain”, but the scientific denomination is the correct way to write about these variants.
We have asked Facebook and Twitter to provide information about the actions they are taking on this issue and we will update the post if we receive news.
China’s Global Times reacted to the warning by saying that the Indian media show “double standards,” as some publications have published reports in the past indicating that the coronavirus originated in China. Last March, a report published by L1ght, a company specializing in measuring online toxicity, noted that hatred of China on Twitter increased by 900% after the start of the pandemic.
India is going through a growing wave of COVID-19 infections as the country has registered more than 200,000 cases for over a month; variant B.1.617 is believed to be the cause of this dangerous phase, which has affected the health system.