India’s government has banned internet access for five days for “fake news” and “malicious content” on the social media platform WhatsApp.
The move follows an avalanche of social media posts calling for Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s resignation and protests over the controversial law that allows police to monitor citizens’ private communications.
The Government Communications Security Bureau said it has “received complaints about a certain number of content” and asked the WhatsApp service to take down the content.
The WhatsApp ban follows a similar order last month to block WhatsApp for “malignant content” including “propaganda against the government or government officials”.
The government has been criticized for targeting WhatsApp over alleged “fake content” such as videos of “celebrations of death”.
The move comes after several popular WhatsApp apps, including the popular Telegram and WhatsApp Messenger, were blocked by the government in March and April last year for allegedly supporting the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) group.
Earlier this month, Prime Minister Modi’s government also banned the popular messaging app, Facebook, for allegedly “promoting terrorist activities”.