Indian government meets with WhatsApp over fake news: source

MUMBAI: Indian tech ministry officers met with senior WhatsApp executives this week to ask the Fb Inc unit to begin tracing the origins of misinformation unfold by way of its messaging platform, a senior authorities official stated on Friday.

WhatsApp has been working to curb the circulation of what expertise minister Ravi Shankar Prasad termed “sinister” content material in India, the agency’s largest market the place it boasts over 220 million customers.

Such misinformation has led to the lynching of over 30 individuals since January final 12 months, in line with knowledge portal IndiaSpend, prompting Prasad to name on WhatsApp to hint its origins.

WhatsApp has beforehand declined to hint the origin of messages, citing safety points.

“Now we have been asking them for traceability,” stated the official on the Ministry of Electronics and Data Expertise, declining to be recognized because the assembly was personal. “They (WhatsApp) are non-committal on it however we’re forcing this difficulty.”

WhatsApp was represented by Director & Affiliate Basic Counsel Brian Hennessy and one different govt, and stated it was engaged on measures to forestall the unfold of misinformation, in line with the official.

“WhatsApp recurrently engages with the Authorities of India to debate our dedication to sustaining a personal and secure platform for individuals to speak with each other,” the agency stated in an announcement. “We stay up for continued discussions on how we are able to work collectively towards these widespread objectives.”

WhatsApp maintains that constructing traceability into its messaging service would undermine its personal nature and end-to-end encryption, creating the potential for misuse. It has additionally stated it won’t weaken the privateness safety it offers.

The agency has since launched print, radio and tv promoting campaigns to teach customers on the risks of misinformation. Additionally it is performed roadshows in partnership with cell phone community supplier Reliance Jio Infocomm Ltd.

WhatsApp has held digital literacy coaching for group leaders and regulation enforcement in addition to launched options on its app akin to limits on message forwarding and labels for forwarded messages.

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