Fake News Remedy? WhatsApp to limit forwarding of messages in India

Considering the rise of mob lynching after the spread of fake messages via WhatsApp, the ministry of electronics and information technology wrote to WhatsApp to find effective solutions


When WhatsApp was launched, it helped people connect with friends and family but no one would have thought that this very app would become one of the reasons for mob lynching in India. In the last two months, mob lynching incidents have seen a rise after 'fake messages' were circulated on the instant-messaging platform which dreadfully led to violent outbursts.

In order to combat mob lynchings over fake messages, Indian users now will not able to forward messages to more than five chats.

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Meanwhile, mob lynching triggered outrage across the country after which the ministry of electronics and information technology (MEITY) sent a second legal letter to WhatsApp, asking them to come out with an effective solution to prevent fake messages and mob violence in India.

Also Read: WhatsApp Group Admins Can Now Restrict Members From Sending Messages

On Friday, WhatsApp announced that Indian users will no longer be able to forward a message to more than five people or groups (chats) at once. The company added that it would also remove the quick forward button next to media messages.

Here's WhatsApp's full statement

More changes to forwarding
We built WhatsApp as a private messaging app - a simple, secure, and reliable way to communicate with friends and family. And as we've added new features, we've been careful to try and keep that feeling of intimacy, which people say they love.

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

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.

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