WhatsApp’s chief executive has met India’s IT minister following a wave of mob violence in the country prompted by rumours spread via the messaging app.
Ravi Shankar Prasad requested that WhatsApp figure out a method of preventing the spreading of rumours which have led to numerous beatings and lynchings.
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. pic.twitter.com/SciU23wX7O
— Ravi Shankar Prasad (@rsprasad) August 21, 2018
WhatsApp has resisted some criticisms from the Indian government and has refused to remove the end-to-end encryption it applies to messages, which prevents anybody other than the sender and the receiver of the message from being able to read them.
“It does not need rocket science to locate a message,” Mr Prasad said after the meeting with Chris Daniels, adding that the company would be establishing a grievance officer in the country to address these issues.
Mr Prasad also requested that WhatsApp – which has more than 200 million users in the country – establish a corporate identity in India and comply with Indian laws too.
The IT minister tweeted that Mr Daniels gave him assurances that WhatsApp would “soon take steps on all these counts”.
More than 20 people have been killed in mob incidents over the past two months, with one woman lynched in July after a rumour circulated that child kidnappers were operating locally.