Union IT Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad on Tuesday told WhatsApp CEO Chris Daniels to comply with the Indian laws and take “suitable” steps to prevent misuse of the instant messaging platform in the country.
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.
“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.