Moroccan authorities have taken action against a pattern of false online information that seeks to create frustration and panic among citizens.
Rabat – The judicial police in Rabat and Errachidia arrested two suspects for their alleged involvement in spreading fake news and false information, seeking to undermine public order and inciting Moroccans to commit criminal acts.
One of the suspects is a municipal adviser in Errachidia, a statement from the General Directorate of National Security (DGSN) said on Monday, March 30.
The statement added that the DGSN’s cell to observe fake news related to COVID-19 detected posts on social networks inciting criminal acts to undermine measures in line with the state of emergency.
Police opened an investigation into the posts. The investigation required precise technical expertise, which enabled the identification of suspects involved in the preparation, publication, and dissemination of false and inflammatory content.
Police put one of the defendants in police custody, while the second suspect was subjected to a preliminary investigation, before presenting both men to the public prosecutor.
The arrests are part of ongoing research and investigations to monitor and combat false digital content linked to the new coronavirus pandemic.
Morocco arrested several suspects for spreading fake news related to the virus even before COVID-19 appeared in Morocco.
The latest arrest occurred last week. Police in Tangier charged two women for disseminating false information on suspected cases of COVID-19 through the country’s official hotlines for reporting potential infections.
The women, aged 21 and 22, appeared in a video making a mockery of Morocco’s COVID-19 monitoring system and reporting false infections, according to DGSN.
Morocco enacted Law 22-20, related to the use of social media and open broadcast networks, on March 19 to criminalize the deliberate sharing of fake news.
Morocco has confirmed 516 COVID-19 cases to date.