WhatsApp appoints grievance officer for India to tackle fake news menace

WhatsApp appoints grievance officer for India to tackle fake news menace
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24 Sep, 2018

After being pulled by the apex court for not following the law of the land, Facebook-owned instant messaging service WhatsApp has appointed Komal Lahiri, senior director for global customer operations and localisation, as the grievance officer for its India operations.

The company announced the appointment through a post on its FAQ page. As a grievance officer, Lahiri can be reached on email or a Facebook post for queries and concerns related to specific accounts, terms of service or individual user accounts. The concerns on other accounts can be used by individuals to flag fake messages.

Lahiri was previously senior director for community operations at Facebook and moved to WhatsApp in March this year. She works out of WhatsApp Inc.’s headquarters at Menlo Park, California.

The development comes a month after Union minister for electronics and information technology Ravi Shankar Prasad had requested WhatsApp chief executive Chris Daniels to hire a grievance officer in the country. The aim behind the appointment is to check inflammatory messages and content on the platform, which became a cause for concern after a number of mob lynching incidents were triggered by fake messages spread on WhatsApp. The CEO was further advised to advertise any occurrences of lewd or troublesome content sp that local law enforcement agencies can take action.

The instant messaging service was also pulled up for not having an India-based centre, following which it registered an entity in Hyderabad.

In June the electronics and infotech ministry had asked the governing body for digital payments in India, the National Payments Corporation of India (NPCI) for details on how WhatsApp’s payment arm planned to store data of Indian users in the light of the Personal Data Protection Bill. WhatsApp’s UPI-based payment system, which was launched in February, is also said to be scouting for an India head to lead its operations.