WhatsApp has told India’s government the item needs support via law enforcement in addition to civil society to fight fake news in addition to misinformation on its platform in India, after the company was accused of helping to spread hoaxes which led to a string of violent deaths.
The Facebook-owned instant messaging service has more than 0 million users in India, its largest market, in addition to said in a letter, seen by BuzzFeed News, which the item cannot solve the misinformation problem alone.
“We believe which false news, misinformation in addition to the spread of hoaxes are issues best tackled collectively: by government, civil society in addition to technology companies working together,” the letter says.
WhatsApp’s letter is usually a response to a statement released on Tuesday by India’s information in addition to technology ministry, which expressed concern over more than a dozen lynchings across the country since May, fueled primarily by hoaxes, rumors, in addition to fake news spread over WhatsApp. within the latest incident, on Sunday, police said angry mobs inspired by rumors spread through the app killed several innocent people, suspecting them of being child abductors.
“The [ministry] has taken serious note of these irresponsible messages in addition to their circulation [over WhatsApp],” the ministry’s statement said. the item added which government officials have conveyed “deep disapproval” about the recent incidents of lynching to WhatsApp’s senior management.
“[WhatsApp] cannot evade accountability in addition to responsibility specially when Great technological inventions are abused by some miscreants who resort to provocative messages which lead to spread of violence,” the ministry’s statement said.
“The Government has also conveyed in no uncertain terms which WhatsApp must take immediate action to end This kind of menace in addition to ensure which their platform is usually not used for such malafide activities.”
In response, WhatsApp’s letter states which the company is usually “horrified by these acts of violence” in addition to outlines steps the item has recently taken to prevent the spread of misinformation, such as giving group admins the power to decide who gets to send messages within individual groups, in addition to allowing users to recognize which messages have been “forwarded.”
The company also announced on Tuesday which the item could give up to $50,000 to independent researchers studying how misinformation spreads through the platform in addition to how political parties can use the item to disseminate propaganda in addition to potentially influence elections, among some other things.
WhatsApp’s growth in India, a country where millions of people are rapidly coming online thanks to falling smartphone in addition to data prices, has exploded within the last few years. however the platform is usually an effective vector for the spread of fake news in addition to hoaxes leading to concerns via both the government in addition to citizens at large. All messages sent through WhatsApp are encrypted, which means which no one — not even WhatsApp — can see them, generating policing a challenge.
According to a report via the Indian Express, India’s government will summon representatives of WhatsApp, Facebook, in addition to Twitter to a meeting about the issue.