Mobile Internet

WhatsApp blocking accounts proven for spreading misinformation

WhatsApp on mobile phone

WhatsApp is one of the companies which is having a hard time in India. That is because the country is currently going through an election. The fact that this election is extremely driven by social media doesn’t help WhatsApp’s cause. It has been fighting misinformation, fake news and a lot of accounts facing hate speech through messages on WhatsApp. The company has tried it all. It has even had a tussle with the authorities when the company was asked to violate privacy policy to catch the fake news generators.

That being said, the company is now taking strict action against the accounts producing such fake news. The company has come to terms with the effects of the misinformation being spread which has resulted in disabling the chat services of proven accounts. However, in recent conversations with Election Commission of India, the company said that it has no means of breaching the end-to-end encrypted chats, however, is working on the screenshot basis.

This is how the company is currently trying to deal with the problem. It is blocking the chat service on such accounts within moments if the account is proven guilty of spreading misinformation or fake news. The conversations of WhatsApp with ECI, according to the former’s spokesperson, have been going on in good faith. The company is reviewing accounts ECI has been asking them to and is banning all the accounts which are sharing messages in bulk.

The spokesperson said, “We have worked with EC to explain how we maintain systems that work around the clock to identify and ban accounts engaged in bulk or automated messages. We will review and respond to lawful ECI requests when they have information about a particular WhatsApp account and take appropriate action.”

The company also said in a release of the factsheet that it has introduced new privacy settings for groups which will ask people who can add them in a group. The company also mentioned the new settings and powers a group admin gets in a group.

The factsheet read, “We’ve introduced a new privacy setting and invite system to help users decide who can add them to groups. This significant change increases user privacy and prevents people from being added to unwanted groups. We made a number of changes to WhatsApp groups that empower users with new controls. We launched a new setting that enables administrators to decide who can send messages within groups.”

That said, WhatsApp is finally taking some action against accused accounts and this is a step forward. Not to forget, the company is also working towards studying the patterns of misinformation by accepting them on a tipline which is handled by a company called Proto.

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