WhatsApp fights fake news in India by limiting message forwarding

Jul 20, 2018, 14:57
WhatsApp fights fake news in India by limiting message forwarding

Well, now WhatsApp decided to make changes to the app that will make it harder for users to quickly share messages to multiple groups.

"We believe that these changes - which we´ll continue to evaluate - will help keep WhatsApp the way it was created to be: a private messaging app", it added.

More than 200 million people use the messaging service in India, making it WhatsApp's biggest market. Indians are said to forward more messages, photos and videos than any other country in the world.

The ministry also called on WhatsApp to enable the "traceability" of messages when an official request is made.

"When rumours and fake news get propagated by mischief-mongers, the medium used for such propagation can not evade responsibility and accountability", it said.

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While announcing this new measure, Whatsapp has informed that Indians forward most number of messages, anywhere in the world. In a recent state election, campaign operatives of political parties formed dozens of WhatsApp groups, added telephone numbers en masse, and used those groups to send thousands of politically oriented spam messages easily and barely any accountability.

"If (WhatsApp) remain mute spectators they are liable to be treated as abettors and thereafter face consequent legal action", the information technology ministry said.

According to the media report, the instant messaging service that it would look out for "spam messaging techniques" used by hostile actors from the time the model code of conduct kicks in and "especially 48 hours before polling".

The latest attack last week, in which one man was killed and three others were seriously injured, prompted the government to send its second warning to WhatsApp in less than a month.

This new rule of banning forward messages is right now being tested, and shall be available to all users very soon.

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WhatsApp had introduced the option of forwarding multiple chats at once a few years ago, it added. Messages sent over the platform are end-to-end encrypted, which means that WhatsApp is technologically incapable of reading them - or performing any other scanning, automated or human-driven.

Now a look at what are these changes and how daily users of WhatsApp will be affected by this in India.

Facebook-owned messaging app WhatsApp is launching a test to limit message forwarding in India, following a series of violent incidents in the country triggered by rumors and fake messages on WhatsApp.

With this move, WhatsApp hopes to control the spread of fake news in India.

More changes to forwarding We built WhatsApp as a private messaging app - a simple, secure, and reliable way to communicate with friends and family.

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