WhatsApp has refused Indian Government’s demand to provide it with a solution to track origin of messages on its platform.
According to sources, government of India asked the instant messaging service to look for solutions to track the original sender of any fake news as message.
The tensions between WhatsApp and indian government were raised in recent months when some horrible incidents occurred because of fake information that was spread on WhatsApp.
Rumors of child kidnappers were circulated through WhatsApp, leading to mob violence in India. Many people died across the country because of fake news.
Moreover, with general election slated to beheld next year in India, the government is taking a stern view of use of social media platforms, like Twitter, Facebook and WhatsApp for spread of misinformation.
Indian government served two notices to WhatsApp, inquiring about the details of the measures taken by the company to ensure the control of misinformation on the platform.
WhatsApp informed the Indian government that it’s building a local team that’ll have an Indian head. The social media company also notified the government of India about new features that it has introduced to fight fake news.
One of those is a feature recently introduced by WhatsApp that help users identify a forwarded message. In addition to that the company has put a limit on how many times a message can be forwarded at a time.
But WhatsApp didn’t complied the request of Indian government about making the messages on Whatsapp, traceable.
WhatsApp reasoned that creating a software to trace the origin of messages will go against the idea of user privacy and end-to-end encryption. WhatsApp also emphasized that most people on WhatsApp use the platform for very sensitive kinds of conversations.
“Building traceability would undermine end-to-end encryption and the private nature of WhatsApp, creating the potential for serious misuse. WhatsApp will not weaken the privacy protections we provide,” a WhatsApp spokesperson said.
Indian government threatened WhatsApp with instigation charges if the company fails to take action to tackle issue of fake news being circulated on its platform.
WhatsApp has taken a stand against compromising on end-to-end encryption and privacy of users, and it’s quite under pressure because of it. Especially when there are 200 million Indian users on WhatsApp, marking India as one of its biggest markets.
Earlier this month, WhatsApp’s quote feature was found to be vulnerable by a private security agency, citing that hackers can exploit this vulnerability of the feature to spread fake news.