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WhatsApp updates India safety factsheet


Source: ET Bureau | By Anumeha Chaturvedi

WhatsApp has updated its India safety factsheet, elaborating on the steps company has recently undertaken in India.

This includes introducing a new group privacy setting which allows users to decide who can add them to groups and information on its Proto research project which includes a tipline number in India for rumours.

“We’ve introduced a new privacy setting and invite system to help users decide who can add them to groups. This significant change increases user privacy and prevents people from being added to unwanted groups,” WhatsApp said in the factsheet and added: “We made a number of changes to WhatsApp groups that empower users with new controls. We launched a new setting that enables administrators to decide who can send messages within groups.”

On April 3, the company had announced that it is introducing new privacy settings that will force people to seek consent from users before adding them to chat groups. The move addresses concerns around privacy that the government had been raising for over six months, and assumes importance in the election season. The setting is currently in the beta stage in India.

WhatsApp also stated that it has had regular interactions with the ECI to explain its approach to the Indian elections and how it can work together “most effectively” with the platform.

The company is a part of the platform of companies that have entered into a voluntary code of ethics with the election commission via IAMAI.

WhatsApp also states in the factsheet that Abhijit Bose, its first country leader will grow a local team that can further develop relationships with civil society and respond to the government of India on a timely basis. “This team will include local legal, policy, and business teams that can work with our Indian partners on common goals, such as increasing financial inclusion and digital literacy across India.”

WhatsApp said it has advanced machine learning technology that works around the clock to identify and ban accounts engaging in bulk or automated messaging so they can’t be used to spread misinformation. “Through this approach we ban 2 million accounts from WhatsApp per month, 75% of them without a recent user report. We published a white paper on the impact of these efforts.”


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