The Indian government has been dealing with Facebook over data breach. It is trying to curb fake news with the help of the social media giant.
Now, the country is mired with fake news circulation by the Facebook-owned instant messaging platform, WhatsApp.
In response to the grave concern, the central government has warned the messaging platform for being irresponsible about the circulation of fake news which creates rumours and even deaths, in the country.
This is the first instance where the government has directly asked WhatsApp to take the stringent step to control this abuse of technology and filter out the sources.
The government warning came after a series of lynchings and murders happened due to provocative and sensational messages circulated through the platform.
The ministry of Electronics and IT also mentioned that past incidents in Assam, Maharashtra, Karnataka, Tripura and West Bengals were fueled by fake WhatsApp messages.
Of late, acting on the lines of prevailed concerns, Facebook and Google have been devising campaigns to weed out the menace of fake news. While Facebook piloted a third-party fact-checking programme during Karnataka elections, Google launched the Google News Initiative to debunk fake news.
Responding to the government notice, a WhatsApp spokesperson said that the company cares deeply about people’s safety and their ability to freely communicate. The platform will do all the necessary step to eradicate this false news campaign.
Meanwhile, a separate report also claimed that WhatsApp will work with leading academic experts in India to learn more about the way the online platforms are used for spreading misinformation.
The firm is also working with researchers to expand its features and “support broad education” that will help people spot fake news.
Fake news becomes a viral phenomenon in this country and people blindly follow these hate-filled speeches and videos that further incite violence, vandalism, and even mob lynching.
These are some serious challenge for Internet companies such as Facebook, Google, and WhatsApp in identifying and cracking fake-news mongers. Since WhatsApp has a 250 million user base in India, it is more vulnerable to be abused by miscreants for political and financial gains.