WhatsApp Status

Australia and India calling on tech companies to clamp down fake news and incendiary messages


Chris Daniels, WhatsApp new CEO
Chris Daniels, WhatsApp new CEO

WhatsApp owned by Facebook  which has more than 201m users in India, making the country its largest market by far has been under growing pressure from India and Australia to find ways to clamp down fake news, inflammatory and incendiary rumours circulating through its systems, especially after a series of lynch mobbings by crowds of angry villagers incited by inflammatory WhatsApp messages.

India’ telecom regulator and IT ministry have both proposed laws allow authorities to trace the origins of encrypted messages while Australia has already passed an “anti-encryption law” last month, that will similarly force tech companies to hand over data to authorities, even if it requires them to build a backdoor in to their encrypted messaging platforms. The legislation would also compel tech companies  including Facebook, Twitter and Apple whose iMessage system is also end-to-end encrypted – to proactively monitor and remove objectionable content posted on their platforms. Chris Daniels CEO of WhatsApp said ” The WhatsApp platform is not built to record where messages originated and the company would have to redesign its systems and revise its privacy policies in order to comply with the proposals. .

The new rules will mean essentially breaking encryption and collecting much more data than WhatsApp currently do, which amounts to mass surveillance. Although WhatsApp are completely against these rules, and have advocated for months against traceability in India, do we really trust our data with these tech giants in the wake data mining scandal of Facebook-Cambridge Analytica involving voter data in 2016.


WhatsApp said : “Building traceability would undermine end-to-end encryption and the private nature of WhatsApp, creating the potential for serious misuse. WhatsApp will not weaken the privacy policy protections we provide.” Apple, Google and Microsoft have all criticised the new rules  with Apple saying it was “ wrong to weaken security for millions of law- abiding customers in order to investigate the very few who post a threat.”