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Karnataka govt to partner with Meta on cyber safety

The state government is exploring a partnership with Meta, which runs various social media platforms, including Facebook, Instagram, Threads and WhatsApp, for cyber safety.

Speaking to reporters on the sidelines of Digital Suraksha Summit organised by Meta in Bengaluru, Karnataka IT-BT minister Priyank Kharge said, “We are exploring a partnership with Meta concerning digital/cyber safety, particularly for women and children. With India’s rapid digital adoption, there is an increased need for accessible tools and resources to ensure online well-being for users. The government is committed to collaborating with various stakeholders and experts to create an inclusive digital environment.”

Kharge said that more than 60 people in India have lost their lives due to illegal apps with many unreported cases. “We are also working to prevent young individuals from falling victim to illegal loan apps. We have already taken action and shut down more than 8-10 illegal loan apps operating in Bengaluru,” he said.

Kharge also noted the prevalence of illegal betting apps in tier-II cities and rural areas, often in vernacular languages, posing a significant challenge for the government.

He highlighted that social media has become a breeding ground for disinformation and misinformation, with many online offences, abuses and frauds shifting from the offline to the online space.

“In 2022, Karnataka lost around Rs 363 crore to cyber frauds and a 150 percent increase is expected in the coming year,” he said.

He emphasised the need for proactive collaboration between the government and social media platforms like Meta to address these issues. “Young people, even those aged 16-18 and working professionals are falling prey to loan apps and engaging in activities such as fantasy sports and online betting”.

Kharge urged youngsters to understand the difference between games of skill and games of chance.

He also shared an incident from his hometown in Chittapur, Kalaburagi district, where a youngster lost Rs 80 lakh due to betting and fantasy sports, leading to tragic consequences.

Discussing challenges related to technology and government policies, Kharge recognised the need for policies to keep pace with evolving technology.

He advocated for adaptable policies that support businesses and innovation rather than shutting them down.

Kharge said they are coming up with a preferential public procurement policy to support startups and corporations, allowing them to leverage government assistance when needed.

Meta conducts digital Suraksha summit

Meta on November 4 conducted a digital Suraksha Summit in Bengaluru to create a safer and more inclusive internet for all.

The summit highlighted initiatives aimed at promoting digital education and literacy, enhancing youth well-being, ensuring child safety, combating misinformation and educating users about safety tools and resources available across Meta platforms.

Sandhya Devanathan, vice president of Meta in India, emphasised Meta’s commitment to implementing appropriate policies, products and precautions to ensure a safe and positive online experience.

“Over the past three years, Meta has introduced more than 30 safety tools and features to enhance online safety. Given the significant presence of teen users online, Meta has launched various initiatives and tools as part of its Youth Wellbeing efforts, including features like ‘Quiet Mode’ on Instagram, giving teenage users more control over their app usage and content exposure. These resources are available in Kannada and 10 other Indian languages,” said Devanathan. Moneycontrol

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