Indian govt slams Wikipedia for false info on Arshdeep Singh

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The Indian government on Monday condemned Wikipedia for publishing false information on cricketer Arshdeep Singh’s page linking him to the separatist Khalistani movement, saying such incitement was not allowed.

Singh faced a barrage of attacks from some users on social media after he dropped a crucial catch in a thrilling Super 4 Asia Cup clash between India and Pakistan in Dubai on Sunday. After the miss was caught, changing the information on his Wikipedia page linking him to the separatist Khalistani movement, Minister of State for IT Rajeev Chandrasekhar condemned the move on Twitter.

“No intermediary operating in India can allow such misinformation (a)n(d) deliberate attempt to harm (a)n(d) users – violating our government’s expectations of a safe and trusted internet,” he said. It was also said that the Ministry of Electronics and IT had summoned Wikipedia executives to explain the false posts but the officials denied such action.

What happened on Wikipedia?

Indian govt slams Wikipedia for false info on Arshdeep Singh
Indian govt slams Wikipedia for false info on Arshdeep Singh

According to the edit history of the cricketer’s Wikipedia page, an unregistered user replaced the word “India” with “Khalistan” in several places on the profile and changed his name to “Major Arshdeep Singh Bajwa”. But Wikipedia editors reversed the changes within 15 minutes.

The slanderous linking of him to the Khalistani movement was said to have been done by elements in Pakistan. Significant social media firms have drawn flak in the past over hate speech, misinformation, and fake news circulating on their platforms. The government had last year notified new IT rules to make digital intermediaries more accountable and responsible for content hosted on their platforms. The rules required social media companies to take down contentious content quicker, appoint grievance redressal officers and assist in investigations.

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What happened with Arshdeep Singh

Significant social media intermediaries – those with more than 50 lakh users – will have to follow additional due diligence, including appointing a Chief Compliance Officer, a Nodal Contact Person, and a Resident Grievance Officer, and all three officers must be residents of India.

The IT ministry, in June, circulated draft rules that proposed a panel to hear user appeals against the inaction of complaints or content-related decisions taken by complaint officers of social media platforms. At present, “there is no appeal mechanism provided by intermediaries nor any credible self-regulatory mechanism”, the ministry said. A number of cricketers and politicians have backed Arshdeep Singh saying that one can make mistakes in a high-pressure game.

Pakistan needed 34 runs to win when Ravi Bishnoi came to bowl in the 18th over. Arshdeep Singh dropped a relatively easy catch to Asif Ali off the third ball of the over, which led to a huge momentum shift and Pakistan won by five wickets. Pacer Arshdeep Singh was called to bowl the last over but could not save seven runs.

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