More than a dozen people have been killed across India since May in violence fueled mainly by messages on the WhatsApp service. The cases largely feature villagers, some of whom may be using smartphones for the first time. Inflamed by fake warnings of child trafficking rings or organ harvesters, they have attacked innocent bystanders and beaten them to death.
Governments around the world are considering laws and controls against fake news in the wake of Russian interference in the 2016 U.S. presidential election and the rise of hate speech. Such reactions have raised free-speech concerns. But the spread of fake news, a global scourge, has been particularly pernicious in India, where legions of new, inexperienced smartphone users send billions of messages a day on WhatsApp, which has more than 200 million users in India, its largest market.
onveying its deep disapproval to the top brass of WhatsApp, the ministry of electronics and IT (MEITY) stated that the Facebook-owned company "cannot evade accountability and responsibility", according to an official statement.
The warning to WhatsApp comes in the wake of a spate of incidents involving lynching of innocent people because of certain "fake and motivated" messages +being circulated on the widely used messaging app.