Whatsapp announce new measures to fight deadly fake news in India


Whatsapp said, "Today, we're launching a test to limit forwarding that will apply to everyone using WhatsApp".

WhatsApp added in a blog post that these changes will help to keep the app as it was created to be - a private messaging app.

India is WhatsApp's biggest market worldwide, with more than 200 million users, and the company has been expanding its efforts to combat the spread of misinformation in the country.

In order to cut down on rumours being spread through forwarding messages, social messaging app WhatsApp said that it will test a new feature which will limit the number of forwarding messages to 5. There is a need for bringing in traceability and accountability when a provocative/inflammatory message is detected and a request is made by law enforcement agencies. "When rumors and fake news get propagated. the medium used for such propagation can not evade responsibility". Global executives of WhatsApp are already in India and engaging with policymakers on various issues that have been confronting the platform. WhatsApp will also remove the "quick forward" button next to media messages for Indian users. However, globally, WhatsApp will limit the number of forwards to a maximum of 20 groups.

The government on Thursday reissued a warning to the company that it could face legal consequences if they remained "mute spectators".

Besides, the quick forward option will be also removed. It's also set up an internal group to look into other measures the company can take, and consider sending a second notice to force WhatsApp to do more.

A few years back we added a feature to WhatsApp that lets you forward a message to multiple chats at once.

The country has witnessed several lynchings, especially of those mistaken to be child kidnappers, after fake messages were circulated over WhatsApp. The move marks a major change to the architecture of an application increasingly used for political communication by 1.5 billion people around the world in response to public pressure and a departure for a service that has long taken a more hands-off approach.

Officials from WhatsApp's U.S. office are in India this week to meet with digital literacy organizations and civil society leaders to discuss the spate of violence that has prompted calls for control the spread of viral content on the app.

This is one of the steps by WhatsApp to curb the spam and misinformation on the platform.

WhatsApp will also meet non-government bodies and other groups in New Delhi, the capital, on Friday to discuss ways to curb the spread of false messages, said one source at the company, who asked not to be named, invoking company policy.