Union Minister of Information Technology Ravi Shankar Prasad today met WhatsApp CEO Chris Daniels - who is on a five-day tour to India - and suggested measures to curb fake news and asked him to take 'suitable' steps to prevent misuse of the instant messaging app. "CEO of WhatsApp Chris Daniels met me today. I appreciated the role of WhatsApp in empowering people and also shared country's concerns about misuse of #Whatsapp and requested him to take suitable steps to address those concerns," the Union Minister tweeted after the meeting.
The meeting comes at a time when more and more incidents of mob lynching being linked to the circulation of fake messages and videos on the Facebook-owned messaging app. The Union Minister asked Daniels to take appropriate steps to address the issue. He also asked WhatsApp CEO to set up a grievance officer in India, establish a corporate entity and comply with the laws of the country. "He assured me that #Whatsapp will soon take steps on all these counts," Prasad said.
Earlier, the government had sent two notices to WhatsApp - which has over 200 million monthly active - for its failure to check the spread of fake and provocative content on its platform. The IT Ministry had asked WhatsApp to come out with more effective solutions for identifying fake news. Following this, the WhatsApp limited forward messaging to five chats in India.
WhatsApp has yet not figured out a concrete solution to the problem, but the company has tweaked its system - like marking forwarded messages as forwards - to stop misuse of its platform for spreading fake news. The company has also offered USD 50,000 research grants to social scientists to help curb the spread of false news.