July 20, 2018
New Delhi: Messaging service WhatsApp on Friday said it is launching a test to limit forwarding that will apply to all users in India, a move the Facebook-owned platform hopes would halt spread of false incendiary messages that have led to several deaths.
Under scanner over mob lynchings, the messaging service has been under severe pressure. “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. We will also remove the quick forward button next to media messages,” WhatsApp said in a blog post on Thursday.
The move is likely to be a deterrent to mass forwarding of messages. In its second notice, the Ministry of Electronics and IT (MeitY) on Thursday said WhatsApp has been requested to come out with more effective solutions that can bring in accountability and facilitate enforcement of law in addition to their efforts towards labelling forwards and identifying fake news.
WhatsApp last week published advertisements in key Indian newspapers to tackle the spread of misinformation. The messaging service also said it was committed to safety and privacy. “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,” it added.
WhatsApp has over 200 million monthly active users in India.