WhatsApp on Tuesday launched a dedicated resource center called ‘Security in India’ which highlights security measures and processes available on the platform. The hub emphasizes the benefits of using end-to-end encryption and provides details on features including two-step verification and the ability to add a layer of security to secure WhatsApp chats with fingerprint or facial recognition. The Meta-owned company also listed India-specific processes it uses to help reduce abuse on WhatsApp. India is notably the biggest market for WhatsApp and the company appears to be working to grow its user base while maintaining the trust of its existing users with moves like the introduction of a resource hub.
Available as a independent web page, the ‘Security in India’ resource center lists topics on security, privacy and online safety. It also includes material on how WhatsApp users can protect themselves from cyber scams. The resource hub aims to raise awareness of the various security measures and built-in features users can use on the platform, the company said.
WhatsApp has divided the information presented in the resource hub into different subsections. It has details on end-to-end encryption – the branded feature of the app that is marketed to help secure a user’s messages, photos, videos, voice messages, documents, status updates, and third-party calls.
The hub also highlights product features including two-step verification, the ability to lock WhatsApp with Touch ID and Face ID on iPhone, and fingerprint lock on Android. Furthermore, it talks about features like forwarding limits and additional limits for viral messages that WhatsApp first introduced in India to limit the circulation of fake news and misinformation.
The WhatsApp Resource Hub also promotes features such as account blocking and reporting, message-level reporting, and admin controls for groups. In addition, he mentions recently introduced features including disappearing messages, View Once, and end-to-end encrypted backups.
In addition to detailing different features focused on security and user privacy, the resource hub promotes measures that WhatsApp must adopt in accordance with IT rules to prevent abuse in the country. This includes the appointment of a complaints officer and the release of monthly reports.
WhatsApp also claims that it has “zero tolerance” for child sexual abuse material (CSAM) and other sexual abuse material on the platform. It also claims that it reports the content and account breach to the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children (NCMEC), which forwards these cyber tips to law enforcement globally and in India, specifically to the National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB).
The resource hub also details the ways in which WhatsApp is addressing misinformation. The platform, however, has not yet been able to contain the fake news on the platform.
To help protect users from different scams, spam and impersonation, the WhatsApp hub has several recommendations, including avoiding sharing one-time passwords with unknown third parties and carefully reviewing messages that request confidential information, money or other assistance. .
The hub also includes some clarification on different incidents focused on WhatsApp, including chat leaks and traceability. In addition, it concludes the information by saying that WhatsApp is working closely with law enforcement agencies in the country to review their requests based on applicable laws and application policies.
“We hope this feature will provide users with the information they need to protect their privacy and browse the internet safely,” said Abhijit Bose, head of India, WhatsApp, in a prepared statement. “Over the years, we’ve made significant changes to the product to help improve user security and privacy. In addition to ongoing product innovations, we also consistently invest in cutting-edge technology, artificial intelligence, data scientists, experts and processes to support user safety.”
WhatsApp has a strong user base of over 400 million in India. So it makes sense for the company to have a dedicated hub to detail the measures and steps needed to provide user security. But despite its efforts, WhatsApp is being criticized for failing to fully contain the spread of false messages on the platform, which in the past has also been used to spread hate.
Earlier this month, WhatsApp announced that it had banned more than two million accounts in the country in December. The company also noted that it received 528 complaints during the month.