Recently, the government had warned WhatsApp that it will treat the messaging platform as the abettor of rumor propagation and legal consequences will follow if adequate checks are not put in place. Now, after being slapped with two notices with the third one under consideration, WhatsApp has appointed a Grievance Officer for India and has rolled out a detailed process for users to flag concerns and complaints, including those around fake news.
The U.S based company has updated its website to reflect the appointment of a ‘Grievance Officer for India’ and has named Komal Lahiri for the post.
A section within FAQs on WhatsApps now reads: "You (users) can contact the Grievance Officer with complaints or concerns, including the following: WhatsApp's Terms of Service; and Questions about your account."
As per reports, the appointment of the Grievance Officer was made at the end of August and Komal, the Grievance Officer for India is based in the U.S. As per Komal's LinkedIn profile, she is the Senior Director, Global Customer Operations and Localisation, WhatsApp.
It was only last month that the IT Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad had met WhatsApp Head Chris Daniels and asserted that the company will have to find a solution to track origin of messages on its platform, set up a local corporate entity that is subject to Indian laws within a defined time-frame as well as appoint a Grievance Officer.
India being WhatsApp’s biggest market with more than 200 Mn users holds great importance for the Facebook-owned company. To be on par with the laws in India and to safeguard its business, in July, it limited message forwards to five chats at a time and had also removed the quick forward button placed next to media messages to discourage mass forwarding. It has also introduced a ‘forward’ label to help users identify such messages. Now, by assigning a Grievance Officer it has further complied with the laws. It is, however, yet to accept the government’s demand for traceability of messages saying creating such a software will go against the idea of user privacy and end-to-end encryption.