Take action to stop spread of fake news, govt. tells WhatsApp

Amid reports of lynchings across the country over fake messages on WhatsApp, the government said on Tuesday that it had told the service provider “in no uncertain terms” to take immediate measures to ensure that its platform was not misused.

Instances of lynching have been reported in Assam, Maharashtra, Karnataka, Tripura and West Bengal by mobs provoked by “irresponsible and explosive messages” on WhatsApp.

“Deep disapproval of such developments has been conveyed to the senior management of WhatsApp and they have been advised that necessary remedial measures should be taken to prevent proliferation of these fake and at times motivated/sensational messages,” the Ministry of Electronics and IT said in a statement.

The government also directed that the spread of such messages be immediately contained through the application of appropriate technology. “While the law and order machinery is taking steps to apprehend the culprits, the abuse of platforms like WhatsApp for repeated circulation of such provocative content is equally a matter of deep concern,” the statement said.

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