Chris Daniels is on a 4-5 day visit to discuss how to counter the issue of fake news on its platform and to discuss the launch of its payments services in the country.

As WhatsApp faces trouble in India CEO comes down to India to address issues
Atom Tech Shorts Wednesday, August 22, 2018 - 07:11
Written by  S. Mahadevan

The importance that WhatsApp attaches to the Indian market can be gauged by the fact that two of its senior executives have come down to India to smoothen out issues raised by the government on the app’s functioning here. If it was COO, Mathew Idema last month, it is the CEO Chris Daniels himself on a 4-5-day short trip to India which is currently on.

While Idema met with the IT Secretary to explain what WhatsApp can do to curb the menace of using their messaging platform to spread fake news. The situation went out of control when innocent people got lynched by mobs following the bulk-forwarding of messages about a child kidnapper. Thirty one such deaths were reported in quick succession from across the country.

That is when the government stepped in and wrote to WhatsApp to find ways of identifying such false information and stopping from being spread. WhatsApp did react to these by taking 2 actions. One is when a message is being forwarded, there will be an indication on top that it is a forwarded message. This would solve the limited purpose of telling the recipient of the message that the person sending it had received from someone else. The other move was to restrict the forwarding of messages to just 5 persons at a time. This again has a limited purpose but the general feeling was something better than nothing.

Now the WhatsApp CEO is also expected to hold a meeting with the IT Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad. One more demand from the government that WhatsApp set up a physical office here with a responsible person to handle issues immediately is also being complied it is learnt. This is a requirement raised from the point of view of the WhatsApp Pay service as well.

The third area is the Election Commission which has received complaints that WhatsApp is being misused during elections to spread false rumors and thereby influencing the electioneering process. WhatsApp has assured the EC that this will not be allowed to happen.

Separately, WhatsApp is trying to mount a massive public awareness campaign in the country to educate the users of its messaging service on the do’s and don’ts to avoid any such untoward incidents in future.

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