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21st of July 2018

India News



Tackling mass circulation of fake messages not ‘rocket science’: Ravi Shankar Prasad tells WhatsApp

By: Express Web Desk | New Delhi | Updated: July 4, 2018 9:52:06 pm Tackling mass circulation of fake messages not 'rocket science': Ravi Shankar Prasad  New Delhi: Union Law Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad. (PTI Photo/File) Related News Will develop policy to check misuse of social media: PrasadWill develop policy to check misuse of social media: PrasadPanel on data protection: 150 citizens express concerns over lack of transparencyPanel on data protection: 150 citizens express concerns over lack of transparencyNo plan to raise retirement age of judges, says govtNo plan to raise retirement age of judges, says govt

Demanding greater accountability from social media platforms like WhatsApp in the wake of recent mob violence across the country, fuelled by fake posts, IT Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad on Wednesday said finding technological solutions to identify mass-circulation of messages on a particular issue in a particular area cannot be “rocket science”.

“If in any state, any part, on a particular subject, if there is a movement of large volumes of messages on WhatsApp, it is not rocket science that can’t be discovered by application of technology,” Prasad said on the sidelines of a conference in New Delhi.

He underlined that social media companies like WhatsApp, which are reaping commercial gains from the Indian market, have to remain accountable and vigilant to prevent abuse of their platforms for the spread of dangerous and provocative messages.

READ | Government tells WhatsApp to act, will meet social media platforms

The Facebook-owned firm has found itself in a pickle after a series of lynching incidents purportedly triggered by provocative messages circulating on its platform. Recently, five people were lynched by villagers in Dhule district of Maharashtra on the suspicion that they were child-lifters.

On Tuesday, the government gave a clarion call to the popular messaging app asking it to take immediate measures to prevent the spread of “irresponsible and explosive messages”. Expressing “deep disapproval”, the government called for “necessary remedial measures” and “immediate action” to stem the flow of misinformation.

In response, WhatsApp said it is “horrified” by the “terrible acts of violence” and has outlined steps being taken by the company to curb abuse of its platform.

ALSO READ | WhatsApp responds to MeitY letter, says it’s horrified by violence, lists measures taken

It also highlighted that fake news, misinformation, and hoaxes can be checked by the government, civil society and technology companies working together. Prasad also asked WhatsApp to work in a coordinated manner with the country’s IT Department, Home Ministry and the police.

With PTI inputs

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