If messaging apps bow to government pressure and offer self-regulation and intervention, they will set a dangerous precedent
In the wake of an epidemic of fake news spread over WhatsApp, the government has now threatened action against the messaging app. It has directed WhatsApp to curb fake news by tracing the origin of ‘sinister’ messages, among other measures. This is tantamount to asking the mailman to look at the contents of mail and screen messages using an amorphous yardstick to ensure that no objectionable messages are delivered. Such sabre-rattling to badger messaging platforms to participate in combating malevolent content points to a grim trend—one of shooting the messenger rather than legislating to criminalize the generation of fake news.