WhatsApp to clamp down on ‘sinister’ messages in India

India is WhatsApp’s biggest market with more than 200 million users. (Reuters)
Updated 21 August 2018
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WhatsApp to clamp down on ‘sinister’ messages in India

NEW DELHI: Facebook-owned WhatsApp assured the Indian government on Tuesday that it would develop tools to combat the problem of fake messages, the country’s information technology minister said.
India has stepped up efforts to crack down on mass message forward after it found that people were using platforms such as WhatsApp to stoke public anger. False messages circulated on WhatsApp have led to a series of mob beatings across the country this year.
WhatsApp chief executive officer Chris Daniels met India’s IT minister Ravi Shankar Prasad on Tuesday, assuring the government of a solution.
Prasad told reporters he had asked WhatsApp to develop a detailed mechanism to trace the origin of any such “sinister” messages.
“It does not need rocket science to locate a message,” Prasad said after his meeting, adding that WhatsApp had said it was working with law enforcement agencies to develop its systems.
A Facebook spokeswoman in India did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
India is WhatsApp’s biggest market with more than 200 million users and one where it says people forward more messages, photographs and videos than any other country.
There are also concerns that supporters of political parties could use social media platforms such as WhatsApp to spread false messages in the run-up to India’s national elections in 2019.
Following calls from the government to stem the platform’s misuse, WhatsApp has moved to deter mass message forward and launched an advertising campaign to educate consumers.
In July, WhatsApp said message forward will be limited to five chats at a time, whether among individuals or groups, and said it will remove the quick forward button placed next to media messages.


SRMG announces soft launch of IndependentUrdu.com

Updated 23 April 2019
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SRMG announces soft launch of IndependentUrdu.com

  • Baker Atyani appointed editor in chief
  • Website is part of third phase of project to launch The Independent in Arabic, Turkish, Urdu and Persian

RIYADH: The Saudi Research and Marketing Group (SRMG) has announced the soft launch of www.independenturdu.com.
The website is part of the third phase of the SRMG’s project to launch The Independent in Arabic, Turkish, Urdu and Persian, under a licensing agreement that was signed and announced last year with the British publisher of The Independent.
The SRMG also announced the appointment of veteran journalist Baker Atyani as editor in chief of Independent Urdu. This is in addition to his current position as Asia bureau chief for Arab News.
A group of well-known and experienced journalists has already joined the project and is working in its offices in Islamabad.
Atyani has extensive experience as a journalist, political analyst and TV producer, and is very well versed in Asian current affairs.
SRMG Chairman Abdulrahman Alrowaita said: “The launch of independenturdu.com stands as the third phase of our multilingual project with The Independent.”
He added: “We are so eager to have the new website … attract a wider readership in the Urdu language to read diversified, highly professional content.”
He expressed hope that with this project, “the media industry and content creation will be enriched in our region and the world.”