WhatsApp limits ‘forwarded messages’ to restrain fake news driven violence in India. Recently WhatsApp introduced a label of ‘forward’ which was attached to mass forwarded messages and now the app is restricting the number of users whom you can forward the message.
The objective behind this move is to avoid fake news as WhatsApp has been commonly used to spread fake news and rumors in India.
Facebook-owned messaging application WhatsApp was in a mess in last week as almost 20 lives have been claimed as a result of mob-lynching incidents that happened in India.
Following the event, now the Government of India is pressurizing Facebook and WhatsApp to take measures to control the spread of fake news, rumors, and misleading news.
The Information Technology Ministry of India has issued a very strong announcement on Thursday saying that,
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“If (WhatsApp) remain, mute spectators, they are liable to be treated as abettors and thereafter face consequent legal action.”
This message by the IT ministry of India was set off when a mob of 2000 people killed an innocent man due to fake rumors telling him a kidnapper.
In response to the building pressure, currently WhatsApp is limiting forwarded message functionality to 20 people. Also, it is buying full-page ads in Pakistan and India to educate people regarding fake news and how it can be recognized.
While the parent company Facebook sets policies on how to handle content precisely that can lead to violence, WhatsApp is also taking action to overcome the issue.
In a recent blog post company describes how it’s limiting the facility to forward messages to multiple chats at once, in hope that it will slow the reach of hoaxes and misinformation that have driven recent lynchings in India.
WhatsApp called these changes a “test,” while a spokesperson said recoding the statement “We’re horrified by the violence in India, and we’ve announced number of different product changes to help address these issues.”