In a recent development the state government of Maharashtra wants Facebook to help the cyber security experts to catch culprits who are creating tensions in the society.
Reported by TNN, the state government has written to social media sites, such as Facebook, to evolve a system where the cyber security authorities could easily trace those involved in posting “objectionable” and “communally or socially sensitive” matters.
The state government has even asked social networking sites to share addresses and cellphone numbers of people involved in such acts.
The development happens right after, one of the cities of Maharashtra, Pune reported tensions during the weekend. Reported by IE, various parts of the city from Saturday night to Sunday evening saw workers of some political parties, particularly the Shiv Sena, and local groups resort to stone pelting and force shops to down shutters.
The tensions erupted after an allegedly objectionable photograph was posted on Facebook about the warrior king Shivaji, his son Sambhaji and late Shiv Sena leader Bal Thackeray. The link of the post was further circulated through messenging apps on phones, triggering the violent reaction on Saturday night.
The Facebook post was first noticed by Shiv Sena activist Avinash Bagal who then complained at the police station on Saturday. The Cyber Cell at Mumbai along with Facebook blocked one account which contained the objectionable picture. However, a second Facebook account had been created by an unidentified person which was also blocked by police with the help of the social networking site.
Besides, a FIR has been also registered against an unidentified person for posting controversial pictures.
While the posts have been removed from Facebook, Joint Commissioner of Police Sanjay Kumar has urged the netizens not to forward such posts or links and not to believe in any kind of rumor.
Amidst this, eight buses were damaged in the incidents as the Sena activists took to the streets. Traffic on the Pune-Mumbai Expressway and the old highway was also blocked for a couple of hours during afternoon as some local groups staged road blockade.
Asking for co-operation from Facebook is understood from a department which is yet to upgrade itself to the modern methods being used by culprits. But, what is surprising is why is the Mumbai Police asking Facebook to track culprits on social media when it has been working on a monitoring system since last year.
Reports of setting up a ‘Social Monitoring Lab’ have been doing the rounds from early 2013. The department became more serious with social media after its failure to handle the Palghar case where two girls were arrested for their Facebook posts last year. Later to monitor such huge data, the Mumbai Police had decided to use the social media monitoring tool provided by SocialAppsHQ, which would scan social media and pull out content that could be troublesome.
So why ask Facebook to track or has the Mumbai Police kept the project on hold? Additionally, obtaining addresses and telephone numbers would be only possible if the account has added them, which is a rare possibility.
While monitoring of content on social media is required, the department will have to invest and brainstorm seriously on its execution.