WhatsApp "horrified" at lynchings, will take steps against fake news

Media playback is unsupported on your device                  Media caption The India Whats App video driving people to murder

Media playback is unsupported on your device Media caption The India Whats App video driving people to murder

They attack any unknown persons who are seriously injured or killed in the mob violence.

The most recent incident of fake news-driven lynching happened a couple of days ago in Rainpada of Dhule, Maharashtra, where villagers lynched five people over suspicions that they were "child-lifters".

Under fire from the central government over the recent spate of lynchings in the country, allegedly due to rumours spread on its instant messaging platform, WhatsApp has told the Centre that it will not be able to solve the fake news problem alone.

Facebook Inc's (FB.O) WhatsApp messenger service has responded to a call from India's technology ministry to curb the spread of false information on its platform, saying such a task required a partnership between the pair as well as with society in general.

"The abuse of platform like WhatsApp for repeated circulation of such provocative content" is of deep concern to the Government of India.

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Speaking to ANI news agency, Minister of State for Maharashtra Deepak Kesarkar urged people to not take the law into their own hands.

"While we welcome them completely in India's digital story and also making a commercial success of it, they must remain accountable, responsible and vigilant", he said, referring to the three popular social media platforms Facebook, Twitter and WhatsApp.

The Ministry of Electronics and IT has asked senior management of messaging app WhatsApp to initiate measures to prevent the spread of "explosive messages".

WhatsApp said in a blog post that it would institute awards for research on "spread of misinformation" on its platform.

"We´re horrified by these awful acts of violence and wanted to respond quickly to the very important issues you have raised", WhatsApp said in the letter seen by AFP.

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The official said that the "responsibility is beyond any one technology company" and "requires partners", according to the paper.

The company also said it follows a two-pronged approach that includes giving people controls and information they need to stay safe, and working proactively to prevent misuse on WhatsApp.

Police launched an investigation and have already arrestedover 20 people - all between 20 and 30 years old - in connection to the Sunday lynching.

WhatsApp has always been at the center of the fake news debate in India. Similarly, the app also introduced a feature which allows group administrators to decide who gets to send messages in a group.

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