India has told Facebook and Chinese video app TikTok to remove users found to be spreading misinformation about the coronavirus.

The directive came amid concern about videos intended to mislead Muslims, according to reports.

The move follows a report by Delhi-based digital analytics firm Voyager Infosec which identified a pattern of targeted disinformation in many social media videos that appeared to be aimed at Muslims, with some using religious beliefs to justifying defiance of health advisories over the virus, stated the Reuters report.

In one video on Tuesday, a TikTok user says he is not scared of the coronavirus because, as a Muslim, he is a follower of the Prophet Mohammed and fears only Allah.

In another, a young man throws away a face mask to put on a Muslim skull cap, and makes a gesture of praying.

Concerns about such content forced India’s IT ministry to write to TikTok and Facebook on April 5 last.

The letter has asked companies to remove users who are spreading misinformation and ‘preserve’ their details for sharing with law enforcement when requested.

“You need to ensure that such rogue messages do not go viral,” the letter from the IT ministry had stated.

“(Such messages) have the potential for creating panic … this effectively weakens the all-out effort being made by the Indian government for containing the coronavirus,” the letter added.

In a statement, TikTok said it was ‘actively working with the government to support’ their efforts to fight misinformation, while proactively working towards elevating credible information related to COVID-19 on its platform.

Facebook, it is learnt was taking ‘aggressive steps to stop misinformation and harmful content from spreading’ on its platforms.

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