The problem of fake news and hatred messages on Whatsapp is a real issue; a big one.
People have been killed due to fake messages, and hatred originating from Whatsapp users, and Govt. of India had made their position clear on this.
Now, facing the heat, Whatsapp’s CEO: Chris Daniels came down to India, and assured the Indian Govt. that they will do everything to stop this menace.
He has made three big promises:
Tracking The Origin Of Messages
Whatsapp will now devise ways and methods to track and locate the exact source of such messages, which trigger violence and hatred. Once this happens, Whatsapp will be able to pin-point to the exact location where this mess began.
Servers in India
As per RBI’s new rules, all messengers, wallets and fintech companies operating in India will have to store their data inside India. Although companies like Microsoft, Amazon and others are opposing it, Whatsapp has agreed to the demands. Very soon, they will make an official announcement on this regard. RBI is expected to announce a formal notification in this regard, and after that, Whatsapp will confirm its adherence. Govt. of India has assured Whatsapp that once a rule comes into force, it shall be applicable for all the companies, and not just Whatsapp.
This will also help Whatsapp to roll out their Payments platform in India which has been under scaner for these reasons.
Grievance redressal officer in India
And lastly, Govt. of India had wanted a dedicated Grievance redressal officer in India, along with a corporate presence. This request was made so that for every request and action, Govt. of India need not contact the American office. This request too has been accepted by Whatsapp.
Meeting With IT Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad
After reaching India, Chris Daniels had a meeting with IT Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad, wherein all the details regarding these requests were discussed.
The Minister said, “He (Daniels) said the company would try to work out a technological solution for that… I flagged that it does not need a rocket science to locate a message being circulated in hundreds and thousands and millions on the same day on the same issue at the same place. You must have a mechanism to find a solution.”
Whatsapp’s Efforts To Clamp Down On Fake News
Ever since incidents of mob lynching triggered by Whatsapp came out, Govt. has India has been pushing Whatsapp to take some concrete action to stop this mess.
In response, Whatsapp has been doing their bit, albeit in a gradual manner.
Not only all forward messages were labeled, but also forwards were limited to 5 per chat.
More control was given to the Group Admins, as they can now control who can send messages in group.
Spam and fake news will be now monitored via a spam-detection tool, inbuilt in the messenger.
And, special grant has been approved for social scientists, to understand human behavior, and to stop the circulation of fake news.