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IT Minister chastises WhatsApp for tweeting a video with an inaccurate map of India; platform deletes tweet and apologises.

Company Minister Rajeev Chandrasekhar reprimanded WhatsApp on Saturday for tweeting a video depicting an erroneous map of India and demanded that it repair the issue immediately, after which WhatsApp deleted the tweet and apologised.

As the minister criticised WhatsApp for its inaccurate map of India, he warned that “all platforms that do business in India and/or wish to continue doing business in India must use accurate maps.”

“Dear WhatsApp —” Request that you please correct the India map inaccuracy as soon as possible,” Chandrasekhar tweeted after the Meta-owned messaging platform published a New Year’s-related tweet containing an incorrect map of India.

WhatsApp’s video upload regarding a New Year’s Eve broadcast presented an incorrect map of India in relation to Jammu and Kashmir.

WhatsApp deleted the tweet when the minister highlighted it.

“Thank you, Minister, for pointing up the unintentional error; we have withdrawn the broadcast immediately and sincerely apologise. In the future, we will be cautious,” WhatsApp tweeted.

Earlier this week, Chandrasekhar also alerted Eric Yuan, founder and CEO of video calling business Zoom, about an inaccurate map of India.

“You might wish to utilise accurate maps of the nations you do/want to conduct business in,” the minister tweeted on December 28. Later, Yuan deleted the relevant tweet.

In June 2021, the microblogging network Twitter was heavily criticised for displaying an inaccurate map of India. Twitter corrected the incorrect map following online outrage.

In the past, large social media platforms have been criticised for the prevalence of hate speech, misinformation, and fake news on their platforms.

In one of the world’s major internet marketplaces, the government set severe laws for social media platforms last year to make them more accountable to end-users. The 2021 regulations mandate that social media companies remove contentious information more quickly, designate grievance resolution officers, and cooperate with investigations.

The IT rules were strengthened further in October 2022 to pave the way for the introduction of Centre-appointed tribunals to settle frequently ignored user complaints about the manner in which social media companies handled their complaints about content and other issues.

Simply said, these appellate committees will be able to review content moderation judgements made by social media companies such as Meta and Twitter, and they will be able to overturn decisions made by the Big Tech businesses about takedown or banning requests. The government stated that the measure was necessary due to digital platforms’ “casual” and “tokenistic” approach to consumer complaints.

Notably, the newly amended IT rules impose a legal obligation on social media companies to prevent prohibited content and misinformation, and the government has made it clear that platforms like Twitter and Facebook operating in India will be required to respect the local laws and constitutional rights of Indian users.



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