ibusinesslines.com September 20, 2018

Ensure no fake messages are spread via your platform: Government warns WhatsApp

04 July 2018, 09:31 | Erica Roy

Now, 5 Lynched By Villagers In Maharashtra Over Child-Lifting Rumours

5 men killed by mob in Maharashtra on suspicion of being child kidnappers

At least 20 people have been killed in such brutal attacks since early May, and dozens more have been injured.

Five people were reportedly lynched in Dhule, India, on Sunday after a rumor that they were child kidnappers circulated on WhatsApp. "The Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology has taken serious note of these irresponsible messages and their circulation in such platforms", it said in a statement.

Taking cognisance of the Indian government's concerns over the misuse of its platform for repeated circulation of provocative content, Facebook-owned WhatsApp on Wednesday wrote to the IT Ministry saying the company is horrified by awful acts of violence.

"While we welcome them completely in India's digital story and also making a commercial success of it, they must remain accountable, responsible and vigilant", he said, referring to the three popular social media platforms Facebook, Twitter and WhatsApp.

With more than 200 million users in India, WhatsApp's biggest market in the world, false news and videos circulating on the messaging app have become a new headache for social media giant Facebook, already grappling with a privacy scandal.

In a letter to the Indian government, WhatsApp on Wednesday said it "cares deeply about people's safety" and had taken steps to combat the scourge of fake news and hoaxes.

WhatsApp has responded to the government notice saying it is "horrified" by the "terrible acts of violence" and has outlined steps being taken by the company to curb abuse of its platform.

WhatsApp said it does not want the platform to be used for spreading misinformation, adding the dissemination of false messages was a challenge that companies and society should address.

On July 03, it said it had commissioned a set of global awards for researches studying the spread of misinformation.

The Indian government issued a warning to the company on Tuesday, following a spate of mob violence.

The official said that the "responsibility is beyond any one technology company" and "requires partners", according to the paper.

It said almost 25% in India are not in a group; the majority of groups continue to be small (less than ten people); and nine in ten messages are still sent from just one person to another. Additionally, a new feature, which will mark each forwarded message with a special label, is also in the works.

Almost two dozen people have been arrested in connection with the mob killing of five men in northwestern India believed to be triggered by a WhatsApp rumor.

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