WhatsApp building India-team to curb fake news, but government is not satisfied


  • WhatsApp has told officials at the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology (MeitY) Ministry that they’re in the process of building a local team in India.
  • MeitY is still dissatisfied with measures taken by WhatsApp to curb the spread of fake news.
  • The messaging platform claims that any ‘attribution’ of messages would undermine the privacy of their service.

Latest reports indicate that WhatsApp has told the government of India that they’re in the process of building a local team that includes appointing a Head of India and Head of Policy. But according to officials at the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology (MeitY), the corrective steps taken in the aftermath of the lynching incidents still don’t meet the government’s expectations on attribution and ‘traceability’ of messages.

Over past couple of months, WhatsApp has been used as a vehicle to spread fake news and misinformation in India. One particular incident was of an education video shot in Pakistan that was edited, leading to mob fury against the ‘alleged’ perpetrators.

WhatsApp’s response to notices issued by the government has been that addressing the problem of mob violence requires all the stakeholders to work together, including the government, civil society as well as tech companies. Any form of attribution would ‘undermine’ the private nature of the messaging platform.

They’ve implemented corrective steps on the app itself where forwarded messages are now tagged to let the recipient know that the message was not originally written by the sender. Also, users also can’t forward a message to more than 5 people at a time, restricting the penetration of fake news or spam.

The directive to establish a local office in the country was put forth by the Indian government following WhatsApp’s plans to launch their payments feature on the app.


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