India considers privacy law amid deepfake concerns, asks WhatsApp to share users’ insights

India considers privacy law amid deepfake concerns, asks WhatsApp to share users’ insights

Tech News

WhatsApp, which is owned by Meta, is a widely used messaging app in India. However, during election times, it can sometimes be used to spread fake videos and unwanted messages. In preparation for the 2024 Lok Sabha elections, the Indian government is thinking about using a law that would require WhatsApp to reveal who sent the first message in order to combat the spread of fake videos on the platform.

In its reply, the instant messaging platform has reportedly said it might affect users’ privacy because the company does not have access to the conversations between two people.

According to a report from The Indian Express, WhatsApp is requesting information about who originally sends messages because of the problem of fake videos of politicians that often spread on the platform. The government may also require the company to reveal the identities of those who first share such videos under the Information Technology (IT) Rules of 2021.

“It’s not about partisanship. The videos in question depicted deepfakes of politicians from different political parties. Such fake videos of politicians from across the political aisle have been brought to our notice, which we believe can cause harm to electoral integrity in India. So we are planning to send a first originator notice to WhatsApp,” a government official stated to the Indian Express.

In 2021, WhatsApp and Facebook had objected to this rule in the Delhi High Court. They argued that it could harm the privacy of their users and potentially result in widespread surveillance.

In contrast, the government asserts that this rule won’t disrupt the regular use of WhatsApp for everyday users.

Meanwhile, as per WABetaInfo, WhatsApp is all set to roll the update for beta users for Android update. Previously, the instant messaging platform revealed that it was working on a new group chat feature as a reminder system for community chats. 

This update will be available to a limited number of beta users initially and includes revamped icons enhancing the overall appeal of the platform. Moreover, WhatsApp is updating the theme colour for both dark and light modes including chat bubbles and floating action buttons. 



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Updated: 16 Oct 2023, 11:23 AM IST

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