WhatsApp has come under fire in recent days in India after a string of brutal slayings that left more than a dozen dead in more than five states, including eight dead in the past week alone.
it is offering research grants to social scientists to help it combat the spread of misinformation through the cross-platform messaging service. The service, which is owned by Facebook, is offering up to $50,000 for proposals that foster insights into the impact of technology on contemporary society in this problem space including election-related content, digital literacy, and detection of problematic behavior within encrypted systems.
The forwarding of fake news is a rising societal problem in the country, where more than 200 million users, many of them on smartphones for the first time, send billions of messages each day on WhatsApp.
The Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology issued a sharply worded warning saying, WhatsApp cannot evade accountability and responsibility for messages that lead to the spread of violence and called for the company to take immediate action to end this menace.
WhatsApp, in a response letter to the ministry, said it is horrified by these terrible acts of violence and that false news, misinformation, and spread of hoaxes are issues best tackled collectively: by a government, civil society, and technology companies working together.