After fake messages circulated on WhatsApp triggered several incidents of mob lynchings in recent weeks in India, the Facebook-owned messaging platform published full-page advertisements in leading Indian newspapers advising users on how to identify false information.
The killings are being inspired by text messages and videos shared on WhatsApp, which dominates the Indian social media landscape with over 200 million users. The encrypted messaging system allows person-to-person or person-to-group communication, making it difficult for law enforcement to monitor or stop the spread of fake stories.
The government of India (GoI) has made a repeated request to WhatsApp over the months to control the “rampant circulation of irresponsible messages in large volumes” on its platform. Now earlier GoI asked WhatsApp to them to track the origin of messages on its platform, but WhatsApp denied. WhatsApp in its response said building traceability will undermine end-to-end encryption and affect privacy protection for users.
According to a WhatsApp spokesperson, he said “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.”