Chris Daniel, CEO of WhatsApp would be visiting India today and has plans to meet M. Ravi Shankar Prasad, the IT Minister for discussing the concerns around the fake news on the messaging platform. In his 4 days visit to India, he has also planned to meet the business and the Government officials. The WhatsApp officials have also planned to discuss the measures required to undertake the counter issue of the fake news on its platform along with the impeding launch of its payment services in the country.
The Government officials have also said that the ministry would renew its demand for WhatsApp to set up an office in India for launching the WhatsApp Pay and also addressing the issues of the traceability of the messages. In the last month, the top executives of WhatsApp and the COO Mathew Idema had met the IT Secretary and the other Indian Government officials for outlining the desired steps required by the company to tackle the fake new in India. The issue started when the reports surfaced that nearly 31 people have killed in the previous year in various Indian starts by lynch mobs mobilized by rumors of child lifting that were spread over WhatsApp.
What steps WhatsApp would take to curb the issues?
Recently, WhatsApp restricted its forward message limit to five chats for over 200 Mn users in India. The ‘forwards’ label was introduced last month by WhatsApp in India. It had also published a video to educate its users on fake news. WhatsApp claimed that the move will help keep the application the way it was designed to be – a private messaging app.
The Facebook-owned messaging platform has also assured the Election Commission that it would make all possible efforts to prevent misuse of the platform during the upcoming election cycle. WhatsApp has also announced that it will be building a local team, including India’s head, as a part of steps to check fake news circulation.
Initially, WhatsApp had asked for support from the government and society in combating the issue of fake news. It had also announced that it will be giving users controls and information to help them stay safe and it is also planning to run long-term safety advertising campaigns in India.