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Source: Vector Ico

WhatsApp has replied to the letter from the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology (MeiTY) on 2nd July on the recent spate of mob lynchings.

“Thank you for your letter dated 2 July. Like the Government of India, we’re horrified by these terrible acts of violence and wanted to respond quickly to the very important issues you have raised. We believe this is a challenge that requires government, civil society and technology companies to work together,” WhatsApp said in the letter sent to the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology (MeitY). This is as per a report in FirstPost.

“We have been testing a new label in India that highlights when a message has been forwarded versus composed by the sender. This could serve as an important signal for recipients to think twice before forwarding messages because it lets a user know if the content they received was written by the person they know or a potential rumour from someone else. We plan to launch this new feature soon,” the company informed.

In mid-May, said WhatsApp, it added new protections to prevent people from adding others back into groups which they had left, a form of misuse we think it is important to correct.

“Last week, we launched a new setting that enables administrators to decide who gets to send messages within individual groups. This will help reduce the spread of unwanted messages into important group conversations, as well as the forwarding of hoaxes and other content,” the popular messaging platform noted.

WhatsApp has also announced a new project to work with leading academic experts in India to learn more about the spread of misinformation.

Boom Live & its CEO Govindaraj Ethiraj

“The fact-checking organisation Boom Live is available on WhatsApp and has published some reports on the source of the rumours that have contributed to the recent violence,” the company said.

While WhatsApp messages can be highly viral, the way people use the app is by nature still very private.

Many people (nearly 25 percent in India) are not in a group; the majority of groups continue to be small (less than 10 people); and nine in 10 messages are still sent from just one person to another,” WhatsApp informed.

The company also asked the Indian government to talk further about the actions it is taking and its plans going forward.

“With the right action we can help improve everyone’s safety by ensuring communities are better equipped to deal with malicious hoaxes and false information, while still enabling people to communicate reliably and privately across India,” it noted.

WhatsApp also announced to soon start an engagement programme with the law enforcement officials across the country so “they are familiar with our approach and how we can be helpful”.



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