Some governments are worried about the use of WhatsApp in spreading fake news. Reuters/Thomas White

Some governments are beginning to worry about the spread of fake news via WhatsApp. They also fear that they can’t address the problem easily because WhatsApp has end-to-end encryption.

The Guardian reported over the weekend that some government officials around the world are worried about the use of WhatsApp in spreading fake news. They are also reportedly mad that it’s nearly impossible for them to monitor potentially illegal behavior on the messaging app because of its very private nature.

Their reaction is a product of the recent unfortunate events that started from messages and gossip being shared on WhatsApp. Just last week, two men were lynched by a mob in the Indian province of Assam because locals learned via WhatsApp that there were “child lifters” roaming in their area.

The men — identified as audio engineer Niltopal Das, 29, and digital artist Abijeet Nath, 30 — were actually just in the area to have a picnic and see a waterfall when they were violently attacked by a group of villagers. The two men weren’t the only victims of the rampant spread of fake news. Indian authorities have also linked the messaging service with dozens of murders and serious assaults.

In the UK, an inaccurate story claiming David and Victoria Beckham were divorcing has also circulated on WhatsApp. The popular couple may have already denied the rumor, but the damage has already been done. The story originated from a series of screengrabbed messages from people who were allegedly working in the PR industry.

A junior employee at London PR firm the Communications Store has been suspended after the rumor was traced to her work email, which she used to tell the scandalous bit to her family members. The agency has clarified that their employee was not the original source of the story. The employee has also insisted that she got the information from Twitter.

The spread of fake news on WhatsApp is also being blamed for the yellow fever outbreak in Brazil. Apparently, certain anti-vaccine videos and audio messages were circulated on the app. Many people believed the misinformation about the alleged dangers of the yellow fever vaccine, which then resulted to spread of the disease to more people, according to Wired.

WhatsApp, which is owned by Facebook but runs independently, is aware of the alarming dissemination of fake news on its platform. So it is encouraging users to block phone numbers of people who are spreading false information. It is also developing tools that could help address the issue as soon as possible.

“We’ve made it easy to block a phone number with just one tap – and are constantly evolving our tools to block automated content. We’re working to give people more control over private groups, which remain strictly limited in size. We’re also stepping up our education efforts so that people know about our safety features, as well as how to spot fake news and hoaxes,” WhatsApp said.