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Remain accountable, responsible and vigilant: Centre to WhatsApp


New Delhi, July 4:  IT Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad today demanded greater accountability from social media platforms like WhatsApp, saying finding technological solutions to identify mass-circulation of messages on a particular issue in a particular area cannot be "rocket science".

Ravi Shankar Prasad

Prasad said social media companies like WhatsApp that are reaping commercial gains from India's market have to remain accountable and vigilant to prevent abuse of their platforms for spread of dangerous and provocative messages.

WhatsApp has come under fire following a spate of lynching incidents purportedly triggered by provocative messages circulating on its platform.

The government yesterday issued a warning to the popular messaging app asking it to take immediate measures to prevent the spread of "irresponsible and explosive messages".

WhatsApp has responded to the government notice saying it is "horrified" by the "terrible acts of violence" and has outlined steps being taken by the company to curb abuse of its platform. It also highlighted that fake news, misinformation, and hoaxes can be checked by the government, civil society and technology companies working together.

Prasad today asked WhatsApp to work in a coordinated manner with the country's IT Department, Home Ministry and the police.

"If in any state, any part, on a particular subject, if there is a movement of large volumes of messages on WhatsApp, it is not rocket science that can't be discovered by application of technology," Prasad said on the sidelines of a conference.


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