New Delhi: The Supreme Court on Monday issued a notice to Facebook owned WhatsApp, IT and Finance ministry asking why a grievance officer in India has not been appointed yet by the instant messaging app. The apex court has sought a detailed reply from them within four weeks.
The Centre had last week asked WhatsApp to set up a local entity with a grievance officer and find a technical solution to trace the origin of fake messages.
WhatsApp CEO Chris Daniels was recently in India and met top government official including union IT minister Ravi Shankar Prasad to discuss the ways to clamp down on fake news on its messaging platform that had led to series of horrific crimes in the country like mob-lynching.
The government has sent out two notices to the Facebook-owned company directing it to take urgent measures to curb false information and rumours being spread on the messaging platform.
The IT ministry has, in the past, said that the platform cannot escape its responsibility for such rampant abuse and needed to find originators of provocative messages. It had also warned that in the absence of adequate checks, it will treat the messaging platform as abettor of rumour propagation and legal consequences will follow.
In its response, WhatsApp has informed the government that it is building a local team, including India head, as part of steps to check fake news circulation even as it did not meet the key demand of identifying message originators.
Apart from education and advocacy programmes, WhatsApp has also introduced new features to let its users identify forwarded messages, restricted number of forwards at a time, and brought out full-page ads giving "easy tips" to spot fake news.
With agency inputs