Mass messaging platform WhatsApp has introduced a new measure to curb spread of fake messages on the app by appointing a new grievance officer based in the US, who will handle complaints on fake news in India.
Facing pressure and notices from the government of India for the third time for controlling spread of fake news, Facebook-owned WhatsApp has hired a US-based grievance officer named Komal Lahiri, for India in August. As informed by the app to the IT Department of India, the Lahiri will be based in the WhatsApp’s headquarters in Menlo Park, California, instead of working in India. The officer will be dedicated to handle complaints specifically related to fake news in India and resolve the concerns of users.
She can be contacted by email by writing in to her about the complaint or concern that has to be attached with a digital signature and phone number in full international format, including the country code. To do so, users can directly reach out to WhatsApp support from the app under ‘Settings’ tab. A section within FAQs said, “You (users) can contact the Grievance Officer with complaints or concerns, including the following: WhatsApp’s Terms of Service; and Questions about your account.” Lahiri’s appointment comes just days after WhatsApp CEO Chris Daniels met with IT minister Ravi Shankar Prasad who had asked the company to find ways to track the origin of fake messages.
However, the Indian government has unwelcomed the move since WhatsApp has appointed an officer out of India and in the US – which doesn’t match the government’s demands for making the platform more accountable. Since the company does not allow traceability of messages as it would violate users’ privacy by breaking into the end-to-end encryption feature, they cannot match the government’s demands to prevent misuse of the instant messaging platform in the country.