'Horrified' at lynchings, sanitising our platform: WhatsApp to IT Ministry

IANS
Wednesday, July 4, 2018

Taking cognisance of the Indian government's concerns over the misuse of its platform for repeated circulation of provocative content, Facebook-owned WhatsApp on Wednesday wrote to the IT Ministry, saying the company is horrified by terrible acts of violence.

The IT Ministry on Tuesday asked WhatsApp to take immediate action and ensure that the platform is not used for such malafide activities over the growing instances of lynching of innocent people owing to large number of irresponsible messages filled with rumours and provocation circulated on the mobile messaging platform.

"Thank you for your letter dated July 2. Like the Government of India, we're horrified by these terrible acts of violence and wanted to respond quickly to the very important issues you have raised. We believe this is a challenge that requires government, civil society and technology companies to work together," WhatsApp said in the reply to the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology (MeitY).

WhatsApp, which has over 200 million monthly active users in India, listed several measures it is taking or has already put in action to control the spread of misinformation and abuse on its platform.

"We have been testing a new label in India that highlights when a message has been forwarded versus composed by the sender.

"This could serve as an important signal for recipients to think twice before forwarding messages because it lets a user know if content they received was written by the person they know or a potential rumor from someone else. We plan to launch this new feature soon," the company informed.

According to media reports, over 30 people have been killed in the past one year by lynch mobs after rumours of child lifting triggered via messages on WhatsApp.

In Mid-May, said WhatsApp, it added new protections to prevent people from adding others back into groups which they had left -- a form of misuse they thought it is important to correct.

"Last week, we launched a new setting that enables administrators to decide who gets to send messages within individual groups. This will help reduce the spread of unwanted messages into important group conversations - as well as the forwarding of hoaxes and other content," the popular messaging platform noted.

WhatsApp has also announced a new project to work with leading academic experts in India to learn more about the spread of misinformation.

"The fact-checking organisation Boom Live is available on WhatsApp and has published some reports on the source of the rumours that have contributed to the recent violence," the company said.

While WhatsApp messages can be highly viral, the way people use the app is by nature still very private.

"Many people (nearly 25 per cent in India) are not in a group; the majority of groups continue to be small (less than 10 people); and nine in 10 messages are still sent from just one person to another," WhatsApp informed.

The company also asked to Indian government to talk further about the actions it is taking and its plans going forward.

"With the right action we can help improve everyone's safety by ensuring communities are better equipped to deal with malicious hoaxes and false information -- while still enabling people to communicate reliably and privately across India," it noted.

WhatsApp also announced to soon start an engagement programme with the law enforcement officials across the country so "they are familiar with our approach and how we can be helpful".


Express your comment on this article

Submit your comments...
     
Disclaimer: The views expressed here are strictly personal and IndiansinKuwait.com does not hold any responsibility on them. We shall endeavour to upload/publish as many of the comments that are submitted as possible within a reasonable span of time, but we do not guarantee that all comments that are submitted will be uploaded/published. Messages that harass, abuse or threaten other members; have obscene, unlawful, defamatory, libellous, hateful, or otherwise objectionable content; or have spam, commercial or advertising content or links are liable to be removed by the editors. We also reserve the right to edit the comments that do get published. Please do not post any private information unless you want it to be available publicly.
Image

India - Global host of 2018 World Environment Day

India is the global host of 2018 World Environment Day which is taking place on June 5, 2018. The t

Image

Students should proactively indulge in co-curricular activities - Raghavi Vishwanath an alumni of FAIPS Kuwait

When youngsters reach a pinnacle it is always a pleasure to learn more about their lives and how th

Image

A thought for Ramadan

Sunday, the 13th of May, 2018 Festival greetings, Happy Sunday greetings Mother’s Day greetings

Image

Kuwait Cricket - A Sense of accomplishment: Herschelle Gibbs

In the recently concluded ICC World Twenty20 Asia Qualifiers ‘A’ , the Kuwait's national crick

Image

Raindrops - Usual and Unusual Stories of love by Dr. Navniit Gandhi

Dear Readers, Dr Navniit Gandhi has penned a collection of 19 true, usual and a little unusu

Image

Love is in air when he sings, Shahbaz Aman

What could be the appropriate adjective to describe this man; singer; composer; or an unusual embod

Image

Don’t Want a Day… Want a Deal!

I am a Woman and like me, there are countless other women out there who do not want Days to commemo

Image

My heart, my soul and all my sincerity is for this country – Ajiaz Ahmad Sarfaraz

“By serving this great country for more than three decades, I feel that the word ‘great’ fully appl

Image

Teamwork Makes The Dream Work! – Nomaan Sidiq Budroo, Captain of Kuwait U-19 Cricket Team

Kuwait Cricket’s National U 19 team returned home after their best ever performance in the ICC U 19

Image

A Walk in the Garden…

Our garden in Salmiya is an exciting learning-place… Every walk in it, teaches something every time

Image

True sense of Indian luxury at Asha’s Restaurant

Who doesn’t like a luxurious dine out once in a while with families and friends? What if it is coup

Image

Zafran Indian Bistro with innovative Indian Cuisines

Indian Cuisines are packed with interesting ingredients and enticing aromas that make it super deli

Image

New Menu at Zafran Puts Contemporary Spin on the Traditional

Fans of Zafran can rejoice as the popular Indian bistro launches a new menu this week. The front

Image

A nostalgic and delicious train journey in Kuwait at Kerala Express Restaurant

A train journey during our annual vacation in India is definitely a nostalgic experience for many o

Image

GOA FC All-India Football Tournament Capxem Boys crowned Champions

A star studded Capxem Boys were crowned champions of the first edition All India 7-aside Football T

Image

Kiff League for Jp D’mello Trophy Indian Football League Final on Friday 29th June

The much awaited JP D’Mello Rolling Trophy KIFF League final for season 2017~18 will be played on 2

Image

22 Yards Cricket Academy Summer Camp For Cricket Coaching

22 Yards Cricket Academy, a professionally run Cricket coaching center having its 16th year of succ

Image

KCWA organized ‘Play on Indoor Sports’

Kuwait Canara Welfare Association (KCWA), for the first time organized an Indoor “Play on Sports” e

Image

Don Bosco Oratory (DBO) Beat Kuwait Independents Hockey (KIH) 1/0 in The First 2018 DBO Hockey Tourunament

Kuwait, Ahmadi – 12 May 2018, in what would one say “breathless showpiece” DBO and KIH. It was anot