WhatsApp limits message forwarding to five chats in India to stop spread of misinformation

WhatsApp limits message forwarding to five chats in India to stop spread of misinformation: WhatsApp, which is often touted as the Instant messaging service has said it will limit the use of forwarded messages to up to five chats which will be in order to deal with the spreading of misinformation and fake news in India, which is considered as the largest markets so far.

“Today, we’re launching a test to limit forwarding on WhatsApp. 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 and we’ll remove the quick forward button next to media messages,” on Friday morning the company said in an email.

“We believe that these changes – which we’ll continue to evaluate – will help keep WhatsApp the way it was designed to be: A private messaging app,” it added further.

WhatsApp’s latest features released post the Facebook-owned messaging app introduced a new label on the July 11th, in order to help users identify whether a message has been written by the sender or this is simply forwarded.

This is also having plans to create a system for preventing the spread of fake news and provocative texts in consultation with academic experts and law-enforcement agents, which already announced by the WhatsApp in their previous statement.

In India, the WhatsApp has come under scrutiny post the forwarded messages system on the platform have allegedly incited mob-fury, triggering multiple cases of lynching across the whole nation, where there are more than 230 million monthly active users of the WhatsApp the country is having.

More than 1.5 billion people in this whole globe use the messaging app WhatsApp.

on Thursday, The government warned WhatsApp, in its second notice to the US-based messaging service in three weeks, that in the absence of adequate checks this will be treated the messaging platform as an “abettor” of rumor propagation.

“When rumors and fake news get propagated by mischief mongers, the medium used for such propagation cannot evade responsibility and accountability. If they remain, mute spectators, they are liable to be treated as abettors and thereafter face consequent legal action,” the IT ministry quoted in a statement.

Amid to this, the government had expressed “deep disapproval” about WhatsApp’s inability to prevent the spread of “irresponsible and explosive material”.

Fake videos and rumors of child-lifting circulated via WhatsApp which was consequences in the lynchings in at least eight states.

Taking note of the recent incident in Karnakata’s Bidar, where a 32-year-old software engineer was killed post the WhatsApp message go round and surfaced on the internet that he is a child kidnapper.

Regarding WhatsApp, the ministry ruled that “rampant circulation of irresponsible messages in large volumes” on the platform have not been addressed sufficiently and massive details about this message sharing app via by the company.

“It is regretted that the enormity of the challenge and the rampant abuse happening in the country leading to the repeated commissioning of crimes pursuant to the rampant circulation of irresponsible messages in large volumes on their platform have not been addressed adequately by WhatsApp,” it said.

Apart from labeling forwarded messages, WhatsApp has introduced some other new initiatives to curb and deal with these fake news.

As per the Reuters report, WhatsApp is working with seven organizations, which is consists of the likes of Centre For Social Research, in order to build and scale an education programme, which can address the challenges posed by misinformation and fake news.