Massive setback for WhatsApp users; Forwarding messages to get crippled
Facebook-owned messaging app WhatsApp has said that it is launching a test that would limit forwarding of messages for users in India. According to WhatsApp, users in India forward the most number of messages, photos, and videos than any other part of the world, which is leading to the spread of fake and provocative news.
Facebook owned messaging app WhatsApp has said that it is launching a test that would limit forwarding of messages for users in India. According to WhatsApp, users in India forward the most number of messages, photos, and videos than any other part of the world, which is leading to the spread of fake and provocative news. The government has served a notice to the messaging platform for the second time asking it to check the spread of such misleading messages.
"In India where people forward more messages, photos, and videos than any other country in the world, we'll also test a lower limit of 5 chats at once. We will also remove the quick forward button next to media messages," WhatsApp said in a blog post on Thursday.
In its second notice, the Ministry of Electronics and IT (MeitY) on Thursday said WhatsApp has been requested to come out with more effective solutions that can bring in accountability and facilitate enforcement of law in addition to their efforts towards labelling forwards and identifying fake news. "It has been conveyed to them in unmistakable terms that it is a very serious issue which deserves a more sensitive response," MeitY said.
WhatsApp said that with new changes, which it will continue to evaluate, "will help keep WhatsApp the way it was designed to be: a private messaging app". "We are deeply committed to your safety and privacy which is why WhatsApp is end-to-end encrypted, and we`ll continue to improve our app with features like this one," it added.
The report stated that, in its first reply, WhatsApp wrote to the IT Ministry, saying the company is horrified by terrible acts of violence.
The IT Ministry had asked WhatsApp to ensure that the platform is not used for malafide activities over the growing instances of lynching of innocent people owing to large number of irresponsible messages filled with rumours.
WhatsApp, which has over 200 million monthly active users in India, listed several measures it is taking -- including labelling Forwarding messages -- to control the spread of misinformation and abuse on its platform.
Several people have lost their lives in the past one year by lynch mobs after rumours of child lifting triggered via messages on WhatsApp.
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WhatsApp had also told the government that it is "horrified by these terrible acts of violence" and its strategy to deal with the situation involves giving people the controls and information they need to stay safe while working pro-actively to prevent misuse of the service.
Rumours on WhatsApp have sparked off a spate of incidents involving mob fury, including one where five men were lynched on the suspicion of being child lifters in Maharashtra's Rainpada village of Dhule district.