Union minister Ravi Shankar Prasad met WhatsApp Chief Executive Officer Chris Daniels in New Delhi on Tuesday to discuss solutions to technological challenges related to the messaging application in India. Prasad said he had suggested that WhatsApp appoint a grievance officer in India to tackle problems.
“I had a very productive meeting,” Prasad told reporters, according to ANI. He said the social media application had benefits, but there were some “very sinister developments that provoke crime such as mob lynching and revenge porn”. These challenges are “downright criminal violation of Indian laws”, he said.
Prasad told Daniels that WhatsApp must properly comply with Indian laws. “We won’t appreciate a scenario where any problem will have to be answered in America,” he said. “WhatsApp has become an important component of India’s digital storage and must have a proper corporate entity located in India.”
Facebook-owned WhatsApp has been under fire from the government over fake news being circulated its messaging platform. A spate of mob lynchings claimed several lives across the country earlier this year after mobs believed in rumours circulated through WhatsApp.
On July 19, the Indian government warned WhatsApp of legal action if it does not put in place adequate checks to stop the spread of misinformation. The Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology, which Prasad heads, said it has approached WhatsApp to go beyond the existing efforts of labelling forwarded messages and identifying fake news.