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India's stern message to WhatsApp over unabated mob lynchings: 'Comply with law of the land and take suitable steps, appoint a grievance officer'

Daniels' meeting with the IT Minister came against the backdrop of several incidents of mob lynching being linked to the circulation of fake messages and misinformation on the instant messaging platform.

Edited by: India TV News Desk, New Delhi [ Updated: August 21, 2018 20:34 IST ]
Image Source : TWITTER/RS PRASAD

Union IT Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad and WhatsApp CEO Chris Daniels

Worried over the misuse of instant messaging app "WhatsApp" in mob lynching incidents in the country, Union IT Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad on Tuesday asked its CEO Chris Daniels to comply with the Indian laws and take "suitable" steps to prevent misuse of the messaging app.

Ravi Shankar Prasad conveyed the message to the WhatsApp CEO in a meeting which took place to discuss  the circulation of fake messages and misinformation on the instant messaging platform that triggered several incidents of mob lynching in the country.

"CEO of Whatsapp Chris Daniels met me today. I appreciated the role of Whatsapp in empowering people and also shared country's concerns about misuse of #Whatsapp and requested him to take suitable steps to address those concerns," the minister said in a tweet soon after the meeting. 

Prasad told Daniels to set up a grievance officer in India, establish a corporate entity and comply with the laws of the country. 

"He assured me that #Whatsapp will soon take steps on all these counts," Prasad said, adding that he also asked the WhatsApp CEO to work closely with law enforcement agencies of India and create public awareness to prevent misuse of WhatsApp. 

Daniels said he would undertake these initiatives.

The Facebook-owned platform has over 200 million monthly active users in India.

WhatsApp was hauled up in July by the government on its failure to check the spread of fake and provocative content on its platform amid growing lynching episodes.

In a notice, the Ministry of Electronics and IT asked WhatsApp to come out with more effective solutions that can bring in accountability and facilitate enforcement of law in addition to their efforts towards labelling forwards and identifying fake news.

To tackle the spread of false information, WhatsApp has limited forward messaging to five chats in India.

(With IANS inputs)

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