The Centre needs to do better while engaging with messaging and social media platforms: If the perpetrators are brought swiftly to justice, the message that there is no impunity for mob justice will ring loud and clear.
It is messages with incitement of violence that need to be addressed. No government likes to admit that each lynching exposes this fundamental flaw, so it looks to blame other forces when attacks occur.
Yes, it may help for now, but the forces that seem to be getting better at social media-led attacks will use an alternative platform, just as they started with MMS for the mass exodus from Bengaluru and then moved to mobile messaging. Understanding the chain The chain of malafide content being spread includes people who are creating such content and are clearly investing significant time and perhaps money in doing thismobile messaging platforms, people who are forwarding such content, people who are organising the mobs, and authorities who are responsible for maintaining law and order.
State governments need to build law enforcement capacity and ensure prosecution in case of mob violence. Third, WhatsApp is responsible, as any business must be, for assessing the social risks it creates and for helping manage those risks.
Investigating those responsible for the crime that occurred in real life, not online, should not be complicated.
Such a step needs to be reinforced by appropriate regulatory changes that make it mandatory for entities in the chain of information dissemination to share appropriate alerts with the law enforcement authorities, in a real-time electronic format.
The demands for action should be directed at law enforcement agencies which have the responsibility of maintaining law and order. That would amount to holding telecom operators accountable for the calls that you make. In the absence of such a regulation, information intermediaries can neither be triggered to act, nor be held illegal for any acts of omission on their part.
Jaijit Bhattacharya is president, Centre for Digital Economy Policy Research It's Complicated Mishi Choudhary The fixes are available if we can stop the blame game and work together In the past two months, more than 20 people have been killed in attacks by mobs that have been provoked by messages on social media.
Second, the responsibility of WhatsApp should be assessed with appreciation for how the platform actually works. The lack of capacity of law enforcement agencies in smaller towns to deal with these situations is a worrying sign, especially in the run-up to elections.
This is not the first time that mob frenzy has been triggered in India through a mobile messaging platform. Third, WhatsApp is responsible, as any business must be, for assessing the social risks it creates and for helping manage those risks.
These cacophonous demands to hold WhatsApp as the sole responsible party for the lynchings underscores a classic response from our society: An Internet shutdown is a suspension of the constitutional right to free speech; a disproportionate act of censorship of all speech in response to the actions of a few.
This is a bug in the platform that causes increased social risk, because socially inflammatory messaging is easily spread by adding people to groups formed for the purpose of incitement.
This is not the first time that mob frenzy has been triggered in India through a mobile messaging platform.
A lynching is a lynching, whether or not it was precipitated by a WhatsApp forward. This is a bug in the platform that causes increased social risk, because socially inflammatory messaging is easily spread by adding people to groups formed for the purpose of incitement.
We must also keep in mind that India is perhaps the only place in the world where mobile messaging has led to such a widespread mass exodus and lynchings. Vigilantism is a consequence of this basic failure of the government in India. A new law covering lynchings will be ineffective if our criminal justice system is incapable of enforcing the law.
Nikhil Pahwa is the founder of MediaNama.
What WhatsApp should do WhatsApp needs to change its platform to enable messages to be either public or private. The data also indicate that the States with the maximum Internet shutdowns are where the BJP is in power or in a coalition: Short messaging is an immensely powerful social force, as advertisers, politicians, governments and wrongdoers have all learned.
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