CEO of WhatsApp Chris Daniels is visiting India this week and is likely to meet IT Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad as the company attempts to address concerns around fake news, on its messaging platform which has to horrific crimes. According to sources, Chris Daniels will be in India for 4-5 days, starting tomorrow and meet business and government officials during his visit.
He is also likely to meet IT Minister tomorrow, although this could not be independently confirmed with the company. Emails sent to WhatsApp didn’t elicit any response. One of the persons aware of the proposed visit said that WhatsApp officials plan to discuss measures being undertaken to the issue of fake news on its platform for the reason that the impending launch of its payments services in the country.
Government officials, who confirmed that a meeting has indeed been sought – said the ministry, on its part, will reiterate its demand of WhatsApp establishing a setup in India, and also addressing the issue of traceability of messages. Last month WhatsApp top executives COO Matthew Idema had met IT Secretary and other Indian government officials to outline various steps being taken by the company to tackle fake news in India.
The IT ministry Ravi Shankar Prasad has, in the past, said that the platform cannot escape its responsibility for such rampant abuse and needed to find originators of provocative messages.
It had also warned that in the absence of adequate checks, it will treat the messaging platform as abettor of rumor propagation and legal consequences will follow. In its response, WhatsApp has informed the government that it is building a local team. Including India’s head as part of steps to check fake news circulation even it didn’t meet the key demand of identifying message originator.
Apart from education and advocacy programmers, WhatsApp has also introduced new features to let its users identify forwarded messages. Restricted number of forwards at a time, and brought out full-page ads giving “easy tips” to spot fake news.
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