Wikipedia executives were reportedly summoned by the Ministry of Electronics and IT (MeitY) on Monday, over the alleged vandalism Indian cricketer Arshdeep Singh’s page to include fake information that linked him to the separatist Khalistani movement after he dropped an important catch during a Super 4 Asia Cup cricket match against Pakistan on Sunday. A high-level panel is expected to grill executives from the community maintained encyclopedia, while a show cause notice may also be issued, according to a report.
While MeitY is yet to officially release a statement, an NDTV report says that the summons was issued on Monday as the government was concerned that the sharing of fake information on cricketer Arshdeep Singh’s profile could have a negative impact on communal harmony and his family’s safety.
The edit history of Singh’s Wikipedia page shows that an anonymous, unregistered user made edits to the page changing the word “India” to “Khalistan”. These changes were said to be undone within a period of 15 minutes, as per the report.
Meanwhile, Minister of State for IT Rajeev Chandrasekhar criticized the changes made to the page on Twitter. “No intermediary operating in India can permit this type of misinformation (a)n(d) deliberate efforts to incite [and] user harm – violates our govts expectations of safe and trusted internet,” he tweeted.
Arshdeep Singh’s Wikipedia page was marked as semi-protected until September 11, due to vandalism.
On Sunday, Singh dropped a catch in the 18th over during the Super 4 Asia Cup cricket match against Pakistan, after which he was subjected to a barrage of attacks on social media by users. Several cricketers, including former team captain Virar Kohli, came out in support of the young bowler and condemned the trolling he was being subjected to.
Last month, MeitY announced that it would conduct quarterly compliance audits of social media companies. While platforms in India are currently expected to provide details of their compliance with the IT Rules,2021, every month, MeitY stated that it had created a mechanism to audit the compliance of the firms.
As part of the auditing of social media companies MeitY will verify if the platforms are reporting details of grievances raised by users, while confirming if the actions taken were in compliance with the IT Rules. The government has also previously proposed the setting up of a grievance apellate panel