WhatsApp has partnered with Jio to visit 10 (unnamed) cities across Uttar Pradesh and Rajasthan, amongst other unnamed states, to educate users of JioPhones to use WhatsApp ‘responsibly’, reports the Economic Times. The report adds that these companies have developed video tutorials and information leaflets which are available in Jio Stores in 11 Indian languages. WhatsApp became a native app on JioPhones last month.
In August, the messaging platform tied up with the Digital Empowerment Foundation to hold workshops on fake news across the country
This is an interesting tie up by WhatsApp, given that it has repeatedly been hauled by Indian regulators asking it to introduce traceability on its platform. To that extent, WhatsApp also appointed Komal Lahiri, a US based grievance officer to look after user complaints for India last month. However, it has said no to introducing traceability on its platform.
WhatsApp has been at a crossroads ever since misinformation spreading on the app led to a series of deaths across India. The government has issued several notices to WhatsApp stating that the messaging service was indirectly responsible for these unintentional deaths, and asked it to set up a local office for accountability.
Is it enough?
Earlier this year, WhatsApp said it would mark certain messages with links as suspicious, however this was only limited to beta testers of the app. The user was nevertheless allowed to click on the link and visit the site. It had also introduced a “forwarded” label to forwarded messages and restricted the ability to forward to only 5 people. We’d said at the time that while this update was useful and welcome, it still doesn’t do enough to address issues related to misinformation, including preventing its spread and helping identify and bring to justice those who are responsible for violence.