IT min­istry meets What­sapp over trac­ing of fake news: Re­port

The Northlines - - NATION - Mum­bai, Dec 07

The min­istry of elec­tron­ics and in­for­ma­tion tech­nol­ogy of­fi­cials met with se­nior What­sapp ex­ec­u­tives this week to ask the Face­book Inc unit to start trac­ing the ori­gins of mis­in­for­ma­tion spread through its mes­sag­ing plat­form, a se­nior gov­ern­ment of­fi­cial said on Fri­day.

What­sapp has been work­ing to curb the cir­cu­la­tion of what tech­nol­ogy min­is­ter Ravi Shankar Prasad termed “sin­is­ter” con­tent in In­dia, the firm’s big­gest mar­ket where it boasts over 220 mil­lion users.

Such mis­in­for­ma­tion has led to the lynch­ing of over 30 peo­ple since Jan­uary last year, ac­cord­ing to data por­tal In­di­aspend, prompt­ing Prasad to call on What­sapp to trace its ori­gins.

What­sapp has pre­vi­ously de­clined to trace the ori­gin of mes­sages, cit­ing se­cu­rity is­sues.

“We have been ask­ing them for trace­abil­ity,” said the of­fi­cial at the min­istry of elec­tron­ics and in­for­ma­tion tech­nol­ogy, de­clin­ing to be iden­ti­fied as the meet­ing was pri­vate. “They (What­sapp) are non­com­mit­tal on it but we are forc­ing this is­sue.” What­sapp was rep­re­sented by di­rec­tor and as­so­ciate gen­eral coun­sel Brian Hen­nessy and one other ex­ec­u­tive, and said it was work­ing on mea­sures to pre­vent the spread of mis­in­for­ma­tion, ac­cord­ing to the of­fi­cial.

“What­sapp reg­u­larly en­gages with the Gov­ern­ment of In­dia to dis­cuss our com­mit­ment to main­tain­ing a pri­vate and safe plat­form for peo­ple to com­mu­ni­cate with one an­other,” the firm said in a state­ment.

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