After a spree of mob lynching and violence incidents due to WhatsApp rumours in India, the Indian government has asked WhatsApp to set up a local entity in India and find technological solution to trace the origin of fake messages.

Lately, WhatsApp, the internet-based messaging app is being misused as a platform to spread fake information and rumours in India leading to a number of mob-lynching incidents. In the wake of such incidents, the Indian government had issued a number of notices to WhatsApp for stopping the spread of such fake news. Last month, already started running educational campaigns, used print media and the messages that have been forwarded are marked with a “forwarded” label to let the user know about its reliability. While all these steps have been implemented, none of them have been majorly effective till date.

Since stifling the turmoil has been quite difficult and WhatsApp is now asked to take more accurate measures to tackle the issue of fake news circulation, in coordination with the Indian laws. As per IT Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad, the government has now asked Facebook-owned WhatsApp to set up a new unit for data storage in India which will serve as a local entity and employing a grievance compliance officer for the same. Besides recommending  local storage entity, the government has also urged the company to come up with some mechanism to root-out and stop the spread of fake news by finding a “technological solution” to the problem.

On one hand, it is being said that the the IT Ministry very much concerned about the issue and asked the app to know properly about the laws of India, work closely with law enforcement bodies, and spread complete awareness about the recent issues. But perhaps, pointing out WhatsApp and passing on the entire responsibility on the messaging giant is not a solution to the serious problem that it has become. Indeed, the roots of the problem can be traced down and stopped with coordination between the company and the government – as well as people. The Facebook-owned company is trying more and more to tackle each and every issue and maintain its business in India as it has 1.5 million users in our country itself.

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