Wednesday, 22 August 2018 11:46

WhatsApp to create tools to fight 'sinister' messages in India

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WhatsApp to create tools to fight 'sinister' messages in India Pixabay

WhatsApp has told India that it will create tools to fight "sinister" messages and help the authorities to stop the flood of hate that has been spread over the app leading to deaths in the country.

The assurance was given to India's IT Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad by WhatsApp chief executive Chris Daniels during a meeting in New Delhi, Reuters reported on Tuesday.

Last month, there were reports that Facebook would roll out software changes to make it harder for WhatsApp users to forward messages after rumours led to a spate of deaths in the country.

Authorities had pressed the company for action after several people were killed in India, the biggest market for WhatsApp with more than 200 million users.

More recently, there have been reports that telecom operators in India had been asked to devise methods of blocking Facebook and WhatsApp in the event that these applications were misused.

Prasad said: "It does not need rocket science to locate a message", adding that he had asked the company to work out ways to trace "sinister" messages, like those that led to the deaths.

The company had agreed to create the post of grievance officer to handle issues in India, he added.

WhatsApp had agreed to comply with the requirement laid down by the Reserve Bank of India that all data from payment firms should be stored locally, Prasad said.

Earlier this month, reports said that global payments companies MasterCard, Visa and American Express were lobbying the Indian Government in a bid to avoid having to store customer data locally as mandated back in April.

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Sam Varghese

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Sam Varghese has been writing for iTWire since 2006, a year after the site came into existence. For nearly a decade thereafter, he wrote mostly about free and open source software, based on his own use of this genre of software. Since May 2016, he has been writing across many areas of technology. He has been a journalist for nearly 40 years in India (Indian Express and Deccan Herald), the UAE (Khaleej Times) and Australia (Daily Commercial News (now defunct) and The Age). His personal blog is titled Irregular Expression.

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