Insta messaging platform WhatsApp has announced a major step amidst growing menace of fake news leading to mob lynchings in India.
In its latest announcement, WhatsApp recognised that more users in India forwarded messages as it wrote in its blog post, “Today, we’re launching a test to limit forwarding that will apply to everyone using 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.”
The announcement by the Facebook-owned messaging App comes weeks after the Indian authorities sought curbs on spread of rumours that have led to violent incidents in the country.
Its blog post added, “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. 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.”
“Together we can fight false information,” read full-page advertisements in some top English language-newspapers, part of a series that will also feature in regional-language dailies.
It urged users to check information before sharing it and cautioned them about the spread of fake news.
Earlier this month, WhatsApp had placed full page advertisements in key Indian newspapers with an intention to tackle the spread of misinformation.
“We are starting an education campaign in India on how to spot fake news and rumours,” a WhatsApp spokesman had said in a statement. “Our first step is placing newspaper advertisements in English and Hindi and several other languages. We will build on these efforts,” he had added.
There have been many mob lynchings based with the perpetrators of the heinous crime being motivated to commit the act after being influenced by fake news spread over the insta-messaging platform.
Not so long ago, a Muslim techie working for Google was lynched to death by an angry mob in Karnataka on suspicion of being a child lifter.