The Prime Minister broached the issue in his inaugural address, and said that there was need to prevent the misuse of social media by elements looking to foment trouble. (Agencies)
After the meet, Home Minister Sushilkumar Shinde said that the government wanted to ban social media but it was not easy.
"Northeast Chief Ministers spoke about it. We are eager to ban it but it is not easy," Shinde said.
Referring to the recent communal violence in Muzaffarnagar district of Uttar Pradesh that left 48 dead, the Prime Minister said that there were cases in which fake videos were circulated, causing deeper divides between communities. He said that social media could be used to cement bonds.
"Social media provides the opportunity to state one's views freely and there is need to maintain this. But it is also important that we do not allow people wanting to create trouble to misuse it," the Prime Minister said.
He also referred to the misuse of social media last year, which led to many people from the northeastern states being forced to flee their homes and jobs in south India.
Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav, Maharashtra Chief Minister Prithviraj Chavan, Assam Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi, Jharkhand Chief Minister Hemant Soren, Haryana Chief Minister Bhupinder Singh Hooda and Meghalaya Chief Minister Mukul Sangma were among those who raised concerns over the impact of social media.
Yadav said that there was no effective mechanism at present to stop the spread of hatred-inducing material on social media.
"Service providers should have the capacity to identify people who send such material," he said.
Chavan said that the challenge posed by the misuse of cyberspace and mobile technology had to be carefully addressed, without impinging upon the freedom of expression.
"While there is a procedure in place to block social networking sites, it would require some innovation and coordination with service providers to identify and block circulation of provocative messages over mobile phones," he said.
Chavan suggested setting up a social media laboratory under the state intelligence departments to monitor posts likely to endanger communal harmony.
He also suggested that mechanisms should be evolved to mobilize non-government organizations, religious leaders and eminent citizens to counter provocative posts.
Gogoi said that mischievous elements and vested interests can spread rumours and hate speeches within a short span of time, through social media networking sites and mobile phones.
He said there was need to more effectively regulate use of social networking technology and radio and TV and other such means of communication.
Sangma said that social media was popular, but the very popularity also raised serious risks and threats, and its misuse should be prevented. He said that there have been instances of social media being used by mischievous elements to spread rumours.
The Prime Minister broached the issue in his inaugural address, and said that there was need to prevent the misuse of social media by elements looking to foment trouble.