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What not to do on social media? Govt unveils a long list

What not to do on social media? Govt unveils a long list

The government has introduced a Social Media Management Guidelines 2080. The Council of Ministers passed the set of rules on Thursday, citing misleading contents posted on social networks like Facebook, X (previously Twitter), Tik Tok, YouTube and Instagram.

The 19-point directive has made it mandatory for registration of social media networks operating in Nepal and also outlined what social media users should not do.

Social media users should not create an anonymous or pseudonymous identity (fake ID); they should not generate and share content through anonymous or fake ID or share content of others or comment on the materials, the directive states.

The users should not spread hatred targeting any community, caste, gender, religion, age, caste, class, occupation, sect, marital status, family status, physical and mental condition, origin, sexual minority, language and other groups or categories protected by the law. Apart from trolling, the directive has also banned the publication/broadcast and sharing of texts, audiovisuals and images that upset social harmony.

The ban covers the use of offensive words, audiovisuals, images, hateful expressions, swearing and hate speech, including sounds, words, pictures and videos.

Posting, sharing or commenting on a topic that can spread violence at individual, group or community level affecting social harmony goes against the guidelines. 

It also covers activities that promote child labor, human trafficking, polygamy and child marriage, apart from the publication of a person’s distorted image, publication/broadcast of photos and videos of private affairs as well as broadcast/publication of obscene words, pictures, videos and audio animations along with comments on such materials.

Promotion of content harmful to children goes against the ban that covers activities such as child sexual exploitation, sexual abuse, prostitution, publication or transmission of false, misleading information and falsification of information and cyber-bullying. Cyber-bullying should be understood as actions such as discouraging, threatening, harassing, insulting or spreading false information through the use of technology, per the directive. It has also banned drug use and sales, gambling as well as publication or broadcast of contents related to terrorism through social media.

The banned activities also include hacking someone's ID and information, using social media for phishing/faking, posting or sharing obscene photos/videos without context, advertisement and sale of goods prohibited by prevailing laws and copying and sharing of activities deemed illegal.