With India witnessing a striking surge in cases of mob-lynching over social media rumours, WhatsApp, the Facebook-owned instant messaging platform on Wednesday wrote a letter to the IT Ministry to clarify its side.
Reacting to the growing number of socially-sensitive fake news or videos on social media platforms, WhatsApp said, they are horrified by the dreadful acts of mob-lynching and will sanitize the platform to eradicate such instances in near future.
The development came after the IT Ministry on Tuesday asked the messaging platform to strict actions against people using the App for such dissimulating activities.
We sent a notice to WhatsApp y'day. We found that disinformation & provocative messages on WhatsApp played a major role in instigating violence. While we welcome WhatsApp, Twitter and Facebook they must also remain accountable, responsible and vigilant: Union Minister RS Prasad pic.twitter.com/Z59kcC3PaJ— ANI (@ANI) July 4, 2018
In a long reply to the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology (MeitY), WhatsApp said, "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, which has over 200 million active users in India, further listed a slew of new features it has introduced in the recent past to control the spread of fake news and communally sensitive videos.
While it added new protections to prevent users from adding members back into a group, a new project to work with leading academic experts in India was launched in recent time.
The company launched a setting where a group admin can decide who can send messages. They are also trying to see that messages are not forwarded without reading and understanding its meaning and purpose.
WhatsApp further urged the Centre to discuss the significant steps it will take to curb the growing instances of mob-lynching over social media rumours.
WhatsApp have also ensured yet another engagement programme with law enforcement officials across India to make them familiar with their approach helpful hands.
Meanwhile, Union Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad is pleased with these latest developments and said, "I appreciate this initiative".