On Tuesday, The information technology (IT) ministry in a meeting with the officials of the Facebook-owned messaging service WhatsApp has asked to take the required measures in order to completely halt the spread of fake messages and news on their social messenger app. These include setting up a corporate entity to enable storage of data in India and appointment of a grievance compliance officer in India.
“I further asked the CEO of Whatsapp, Chris Daniels, to work closely with law enforcement agencies of India and create a public awareness campaign to prevent misuse of Whatsapp. He assured me that WhatsApp will undertake these initiatives,” tweeted IT Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad after his meeting with WhatsApp CEO Chris Daniels on Tuesday.
Our sources have reported that CEO of Whatsapp, Chris Daniels is on a five-day visit to India regarding the concern, and during his visit, Daniels will meet business and government officials to discuss the measures that is needed to be taken against the threat of false messages and news being spread for a while in the country.
Besides this, a “technological solution” has also been requested by the government from the firm in order to trace the origin of fake messages which are being circulated across the country.
“I have said in the past that it does not take rocket science to locate a message being circulated in the hundreds and thousands…You must have a mechanism to find a solution,” said Prasad after the meeting. WhatsApp could face abetment charges if no action is taken, he added.
The spread of fake news and messages across the country for a while now has given birth to incidents of lynching in the country. And the incidents in the past months have increased gradually as a result of which a number of murders have been reported from several states, including Assam, Maharashtra, Karnataka, Tripura, Jharkhand and West Bengal.
IT Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad after the meeting with the CEO said that WhatsApp has assured about taking the condition seriously and is soon coming up with various awareness programme in order to help users identify fake news and hoaxes. Besides this, the company will put the best efforts possible in order to come up with the steps to resolve the current issues in the country.