Union Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad
Union Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad

Remain accountable, responsible and vigilant: Centre to WhatsApp

ANI | Updated: Jul 04, 2018 18:23 IST

New Delhi [India], July 4 (ANI): Union Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad on Wednesday asked owners of instant messaging app WhatsApp to work closely with the IT Ministry and remain "accountable, responsible and vigilant" towards ensuring that nobody misuses their platform.
"India is emerging as a big digital power. Whatsapp has the biggest spread in India across the world just like Facebook and Twitter. While we completely welcome them in India's digital story and also making a commercial success of it, they must remain accountable, responsible and vigilant. It's their responsibility to ensure that nobody can misuse their platform," Prasad said here.
"We found that disinformation and provocative messages on WhatsApp played a major role in instigating violence. The use, misuse and abuse of the platform which leads to killing of innocent people is clearly not acceptable. WhatsApp had submitted the Ministry's queries to its California office. Today we got a response from them ensuring that new features like the administrator of group controlling the messages can be useful in controlling the spread of rumours," he added.
Earlier in the day, Facebook Inc in a letter to the Ministry of Communications and Information Technology said that putting a break to the spread of false messages through its platform is a challenge that requires a partnership between the company, government and society.
The company's reply came after the respective ministry on Tuesday issued a warning to WhatsApp in the wake of killings taking place across the country due to rumours that circulate via the platform.
"The abuse of platform like WhatsApp for repeated circulation of such provocative content" is of deep concern to the Government of India. The ministry has taken note of these incidents as well as the circulation of provocative rumours being spread on the platforms," an official note from the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology read.
The senior management of the WhatsApp has been informed of the incidents and ruckus created by such circulated messages and have been instructed to take remedial measures to immediately contain the proliferation of the fake messages, it added.
Last week, five people were lynched to death by villagers in Maharashtra's Dhule district after videos of child lifters were actively circulated on a WhatsApp group.
A similar incident was reported from Tripura, wherein one person was lynched while two others were injured after a mob suspected them to be child lifters. (ANI)