Government warns WhatsApp; asks it to stop spreading “irresponsible” messages

The government has sent out a stern warning to WhatsApp asking the Facebook-owned messaging platform to immediately stop spreading “irresponsible and explosive messages filled with rumours and provocation” through the application of appropriate technology.

According to reports, at least 31 people have been killed in the last year in 10 different Indian states by lynch mobs mobilised by rumours of child lifting that were spread over WhatsApp. Such incidents have been reported mostly from states such as Assam, Maharashtra, Karnataka, Tripura, and West Bengal.

“While the law and order machinery is taking steps to apprehend the culprits, the abuse of platform like WhatsApp for repeated circulation of such provocative content are equally a matter of deep concern.” It added that the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology has taken serious note of these irresponsible messages and their circulation in such platforms.

Caught in controversy, WhatsApp issued a statement in this regard.A WhatsApp spokesperson said, “ The company cares deeply about people’s safety and their ability to freely communicate. We don’t want our services to be used for spreading harmful misinformation and believe this is a challenge that companies and societies should address.”

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