Indian lawyer threatens to sue WhatsApp over an emoji


According to News 18 an Indian lawyer has expressed discomfort over an emoji seen on WhatsApp. He specifically wants the “middle finger” removed from the messaging platform, and threatens to sue the company within 15 days if his terms are not met.

Earlier on, WhatsApp received criticism by the Indian government who voiced displeasure over its limited abilities to stop the spread of ” objectionable content ” within the platform. In April, an Indian court ruled that posts considered to be fake news on a WhatsApp group could lead to the arrest of the group administrator, then going on to put an admin behind bars for sharing “offensive content” a month later.

In his notice, lawyer Gurmeet Singh, who works in the city courts in India, cited local regulations. These state that “showing the middle finger is not only offensive but a highly belligerent, invasive, obscene, lewd gesture.” According to him, making such gestures to women is prohibited in the country.

“By offering to use [the] middle finger emoji in your app, [WhatsApp] are directly abetting the use of offensive, lewd, obscene gesture,” he added.

No word yet from WhatsApp concerning this.

WhatsApp Messenger was founded in 2009 by Brian Acton and Jan Koum, both former employees of Yahoo!. It is a proprietary cross-platform instant messaging client for smartphones. It uses the Internet to send text messages, images, video, user location and audio media messages to other users using standard cellular mobile numbers. The name “WhatsApp” was used because it sounded like “what’s up. As of February 2016, WhatsApp had a user base of up to one billion, making it the most globally popular messaging application.

WhatsApp Inc. is based in Mountain View, California and has been acquired by Facebook Inc. on February 19, 2014, for approximately US$19.3 billion.

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