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Explained: What is Fake News on Social Media and Laws To Punish Offenders



Everything you need to know about fake news

What is Fake News?

“Fake news” is referred as those news stories that are false, fabricated, with no verifiable facts, sources, or quotes.

Types of Fake News?

Satire or parody -No intention to cause harm,


Misleading content

Imposter content

Fabricated Content

False connection

False or Manipulated content

Laws to control effect of fake news

Section 66D of Information Technology Act, 2008

Section 54 of the Disaster Management Act, 2005

Sections 153, 499 and 500, 505(1) of Indian Penal Code, 1860

If the offence is related to electronic communication

In this scenario whoever, by means for any communication device or computer resources cheats by personating shall be punished under section 66 D of IT Act.

Fake News related to disaster

Whoever makes or circulates a false alarm or warning as to disaster or its severity or magnitude, leading to panic shall be punished under section 54 of the Disaster Management Act.

Fake News creating false alarm in public

Whoever by making, publishing, or circulating any statement, rumour or report which may cause fear for an alarm to the public, or to any section of the public shall be punished under section 505(1) of IPC.

Fake News creating riots

Whoever maliciously, or wantonly, by doing anything illegal, gives provocation to any person intending or knowing it to be likely that such provocation will cause the offense of rioting to be committed will be liable for an offence under section 153 of IPC.

Information causing defamation

Anyone by words either spoken or intended to be read, or by signs or by visible representations, makes or publishes any imputation concerning any person intending to harm, or knowing or having reason to believe that such imputation will harm, the reputation of such person is liable for defamation which is punishable under section 499 and 500 of the IPC.

(The author, Prachi Mishra, is a Supreme Court lawyer and Additional Advocate General, Chhattisgarh)

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