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Indian government pressures telcos to block apps used in lynchings

Mobile carriers and ISPs asked to suggest ways to moderate Facebook and WhatsApp

NEW DELHI -- The Indian government has stepped up efforts to counter fake news in the wake of a number of mob lynchings triggered by false rumors circulated on social media, and asked telecoms and internet service providers to "explore" ways of blocking Facebook, WhatsApp, and other apps during emergencies.

Under the 2000 Information Technology Act, the Department of Telecommunications has solicited ideas for selective bans from private operators such as Bharti Airtel, Idea Cellular, Reliance Jio Infocomm, and Vodafone India. It has also raised the issue with state-run telecoms companies Bharat Sanchar Nigam and Mahanagar Telephone Nigam, and industry bodies like the Cellular Operators Association of India and the Internet Service Providers Association of India.

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