WhatsApp users can file a complaint with the Department of Telecom with regards to offensive/abusive messages they receive on WhatsApp, tweeted Ashish Joshi. Joshi is the Controller of Communications Accounts for Uttarakhand State, Department of Telecom. The victim/receiver needs to email the DoT at “ccaddn-dot@nic.in” with a screenshot(s) of the message along with the sender’s mobile number.

Joshi said the complaint would be taken up by telecom operators and police heads for necessary action.

Joshi also tweeted the contacts details of the offices of the state license services areas in 22 states.

According to the Hindu, the move came after several public figures, including journalists complained of receiving abusive and threatening messages.

In an order dated February 19, the DoT had stated that license conditions disallow the distribution of objectionable, obscene, or unauthorized content in any form on the network. It further directed all telcos to take immediate action against their customers for sending such messages, since telecom users sign a declaration, when getting a phone connection, that the sending of such messages is prohibited.

WhatsApp and fake news

  • After Twitter, WhatsApp along with Facebook and Instagram have been summoned to MeitY’s standing committee on IT next month to discuss the ‘safeguarding of citizens’ rights on online platforms’.
  • Earlier this month, WhatsApp revealed that it deletes 2 million accounts per month to curb fake news, over 75% of these accounts were banned without any user report against them.
  • WhatsApp sought to present itself as a private messaging platform meant for communication between individuals or groups, unlike broadcast-like platforms Twitter and Facebook. The company had said earlier this month that there had been evidence in earlier state elections of a “major party appearing to create multiple groups of voters based on demographic data.”
  • WhatsApp further said that the Indian government’s proposed rules on safe harbour which require tech companies to hand over encrypted messages is “over-broad” and “not possible”. The changes would require it to “re-architect WhatsApp since it is end-to-end encrypted” which would lead to a different product, “one that would not be fundamentally private,” the company said.
  • In November 2018, WhatsApp appointed Abhijit Bose as its first country head for India.

Also read: On WhatsApp, Rumours, and Lynchings