WhatsApp has said that it is planning to ramp up its AI and ML systems in a bid to counter the international scam calls that are defrauding the company’s app users in India. The statement came after the Minister of State for IT Rajeev Chandrasekhar said that the government plans to send a notice to the company regarding the matter while stressing on the fact that responsibility of ensuring the safety of ‘digital nagriks’ lies on the digital platforms and that the government would respond to every instance of alleged misuse or alleged breach of users’ privacy. Also Read - Meta global layoffs affect Indian staff, top execs asked to leave
“I have said repeatedly that openness trust, safety and accountability are the responsibility of platforms who deliver to digital nagriks,” the minister said while adding, “If there is an issue of spam, it is certainly an issue WhatsApp should look at or any messenger platform should look at.” Also Read - WhatsApp’s wants you to share more stickers: Here’s what it plans to do
“Government will respond to every alleged misuse or alleged breach of privacy,” he added. Also Read - Two lakh tech employees have lost jobs in 2023 so far: Report
“How are they able to identify which numbers are on WhatsApp…is it some database they have got? If there is a database it is a violation of privacy, or if not are they are doing it through a bot… sending messages to random numbers… But that is certainly something platforms will be asked to look at,” the minister said as per reports.
His statement comes at a time when WhatsApp users in India are witnessing a paramount surge in incoming international spam calls since past couple of days. Many users complained that a lot of these spam calls have country codes belonging to countries such as Indonesia (+62), Vietnam (+84), Malaysia (+60), Kenya (+254) and Ethiopia (+251).
What is WhatsApp doing to mitigate this issue?
Responding to the issue and the minister’s call, a WhatsApp spokesperson said that that the international scam calls are a new way for malicious users have adopted recently to defraud the app’s users in India. The spokesperson also said that that the company has ramped up its AI and ML systems to identify such incidents quickly and reduce the existing rate of such fraudulent calls in India.
We continue to provide several safety tools within WhatsApp like Block & Report, consistently build user safety education and awareness, as well as, proactively weed out bad-actors from our platform. However, bad actors find different ways to scam users. International scam calls is a new way that bad actors have recently adopted. By giving a missed call, they lead curious users to call or message back only to get scammed,” WhatsApp spokesperson said in a statement to Techlusive.
“Therefore, we have quickly ramped up our AI & ML systems to bring down such incidents significantly. Our new enforcement will reduce the current calling rate by at least 50% and we expect to be able to control the current incidence effectively. We will continue to work relentlessly towards ensuring a safe experience for our users,” the spokesperson added.