In an effort to address the concerns of the Indian government regarding the spate of brutal lynchings based on viral hoax messages circulated via WhatsApp, the CEO of the Facebook-owned company, Chris Daniels, met India’s IT Minister, Ravi Shankar Prasad, on Tuesday. According to PTI, the two parties discussed a variety of issues during the meeting, ranging from WhatsApp Payments to the spread of fake messages and revenge porn through the platform.
Speaking to the media after the meeting, Prasad termed the talks as ‘productive’, and reiterated the government’s stance that the ball is in WhatsApp’s court in terms of finding a technological solution to the spiraling violence and revenge porn issues that he described as ‘sinister developments’.
“I had a productive meeting with Chris Daniels, the CEO of WhatsApp. I complimented him for the awakening, which WhatsApp has led in the entire country… But there are also sinister developments like mob lynching and revenge porn. You must find solutions to these challenges, which are downright criminal and violate Indian laws”
Prasad also threatened WhatsApp with abetment charges if it failed to comply with all the demands of the government. He claimed to have made it abundantly clear to Daniels that the company will need to set up a corporate entity in India and appoint a grievance officer if it has to be in compliance will Indian cyber laws.
He also doubled down on the government’s earlier demand that the company should find a technological solution to trace the origin of fake messages on its platform. “It does not take rocket science to locate a message being circulated in hundreds and thousands … you must have a mechanism to find a solution”, he said.