WhatsApp to crack down on fake news in India - Mobile World Live

WhatsApp to crack down on fake news in India

21 AUG 2018

WhatsApp promised the Indian government it will work to tackle messages containing fake news which have led to incidents of violence, Reuters reported.

Earlier this month the government was said to be looking at ways to block social media services including WhatsApp in extreme scenarios, as concerns grow around the role such platforms play in public disorder. This is obviously worrying for WhatsApp as India is its biggest market, with more than 200 million users.

There have also been concerns in the country that political parties are using social media to spread fake news in the run-up to national elections due to be held in 2019.

In the wake of all this, WhatsApp CEO Chris Daniels held a meeting with India’s IT minister Ravi Shankar Prasad and assured him the company would figure out how to find the source of “sinister” messages. It will also appoint a grievance officer to deal with issues in the country.

“It does not need rocket science to locate a message,” Prasad said after the meeting.

He added the Facebook-owned messaging service is working with law enforcement agencies plus developing plans to to educate users about fake messages.

Last month WhatsApp said it is limiting the number of groups a message can be forwarded to worldwide, with further restrictions in India, where it removed a quick forward button found next to media messages.

At the time, the Indian government said WhatsApp was not doing enough. It said if WhatsApp can target users for advertising purposes, it should be able to find “explosive messages filled with rumours”.

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Saleha Riaz

Saleha joined Mobile World Live in October 2014 as a reporter and works across all e-newsletters - creating content, writing blogs and reports as well as conducting feature interviews...More

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