IT Minister-WhatsApp CEO discuss fake messages issue

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With fake messages becoming viral and leading to fatal consequences, Government of India had to strictly demand WhatsApp to find a permanent solution to prevent fake messages from circulating in the future.

The government on Tuesday asked WhatsApp to set up a local corporate entity and find a technology solution to trace the origin of fake messages circulated through its platform, which is facing flak for mass circulation of certain fake messages that have led to horrific crimes.

WhatsApp CEO Chris Daniels is in India and IT Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad after a meeting with the CEO said that the messaging app has contributed significantly to India’s digital story but it needs to find solutions to deal with “sinister developments” like mob-lynching and revenge porn.

In a stern warning, the government has also made it clear that WhatsApp could face abetment charges in case action is not taken to tackle circulation of fake messages.

However, Daniels declined to comment about his meeting with the minister.

Prasad said he has asked WhatsApp to set up a corporate entity in India, appoint a grievance officer and find a technical solution to trace the origin of fake messages on its platform.

“I had a very productive meeting with Chris Daniels, the CEO of WhatsApp… there are also very sinister developments, which are provoking crimes like mob lynching, revenge porn. You (WhatsApp) must find solutions to these challenges which are downright criminal and violation of Indian laws,” said Prasad.

Reportedly, WhatsApp has been working with law enforcement agencies and is planning to organise a campaign to educate people in India on spread of misinformation through social media.

Daniels is also likely to meet various government officials and business executives during his visit this week as the company attempts to address concerns around fake news being circulated on its messaging platform which have led to horrific crimes like mob-lynching.

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