Whatsapp Digital Volunteer Initiative

The WhatsApp Digital Volunteer initiative is a one-of-its-kind outreach initiative in Uttar Pradesh. Under the initiative, the police have created a statewide network of ‘digital samaritans’ at the police station level. These digital samaritans’ act as eyes and ears of the police and play a valuable role in checking fake news and rumours.

How does it work?

  • The police have formed a WhatsApp group for each of the 1,469 police stations in Uttar Pradesh.
  • Each group has 250 members from different sections of society, such as social workers, teachers, pradhans, student leaders, lawyers, etc. The SHO of the concerned police station, Deputy SPs and Additional SPs of the district are also part of the group.
  • Law-abiding citizens with no criminal background who have a good presence at ground level were chosen as digital volunteers.
  • There is a separate group with police PROs and social media in-charges of all 75 districts in the state. This functions like the central hub in the flow of information. Messages are circulated to all districts from this group, through the PROs and social media in-charges.
  • The digital volunteers inform police of rumours and crimes in their areas through the WhatsApp groups and they also help police during negotiations between religious groups in situations of conflict.
  • The digital volunteers are expected to keep a watch on social media and on the ground for information on crime and rumours.

This initiative of the Uttar Pradesh government aims to effectively utilize social media to counter the trouble being created by using the same social media platforms.

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