A 32-year-old Google engineer has become one of the latest victims of mob violence fueled by fake news spread through Facebook's Whatsapp. According to news sources, he was beaten to death, along with three others who suffered serious injuries.
The incident took place in the southern state of Karnataka Friday. Police have arrested 25 people Sunday in connection to the latest episode.
"WhatsApp needs to recognize India offers a huge market for them. They are making good money out of India operations," Information Technology Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad said earlier this month. "Therefore, they must focus on the security-related aspects of people of India," the Deutsche Welle news reported.
Earlier this week, WhatsApp, in an effort to combat the violence spread through the app, published full-page advertisements in leading dailies offering tips to users on how to identify false information. Whatsapp accounts for over 200 million users in India.
"We are starting an education campaign in India on how to spot fake news and rumors," a WhatsApp spokesman said in a statement, the Deutsche Welle reported. "Our first step is placing newspaper advertisements in English and Hindi and several other languages. We will build on these efforts."
Earlier in July, a spate of fake news on Facebook's Whatsapp led to the killings of at least 18 people across India, in the states of Assam, Maharashtra, Karnataka, Tripura and West Bengal.
According to news outlets, the fake news spread through Facebook's Whatsapp relating to grim issues of child-trafficking rings and organ harvesting triggered the violent attacks, resulting in people resorting to vigilante justice — attacking and beating to death people who were presumably involved based on no evidence.
The fake news includes photos and videos that have proven to be fake, with one video for example showing children who died from a nerve-gas attack in Syria. Around 25 people have been killed since May. The authorities are investigating the hoax messages.