New Delhi, July 20: In an attempt to curb circulation of rumours through fake messages, that have resulted in a number of cases of mob lynchings across the country, WhatsApp on Friday said that it’s launching a test to limit message forwarding that will apply to everyone in India. As per the reports, the messaging app is planning to limit message forwarding to only five chats. Also Read - Fake News Alert! No, Clapping Together & Ringing Bells on Janata Curfew Hasn't Reduced the Risk of Coronavirus
“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. By doing so, the Facebook-owned app hence, believes that the changes will help keep WhatsApp a private messaging app. Also Read - Ritesh Sidhwani's Niece Suffers Due to WhatsApp Forward, His Post Explains How Messages Build Panic in Time of Coronavirus
“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. Also Read - Viral WhatsApp Message Explains How Modi's 5 pm Request on Janata Curfew is Related to Science Without Any Proof
In view of a rise in mob lynchings across India, the Ministry of Electronics and IT (MeitY) on Thursday sent another notice to WhatsApp and said that the app has been requested to come out with more effective solutions that can bring in accountability and facilitate enforcement of law towards labelling forwards and identifying fake news.
“It has been conveyed to them in unmistakable terms that it is a very serious issue which deserves a more sensitive response,” MeitY said.
The IT Ministry had asked WhatsApp to ensure that the platform is not used for malafide activities over the growing instances of lynching of innocent people owing to large number of irresponsible messages filled with rumours.
After being pulled-up by the Indian government and directed to take immediate action in view of the mob violence due to irresponsible messages filled with rumours, the messaging app had rolled out “Forwarded” label to its users globally, including over 200 millions in India. The feature will indicate which messages you receive have been forwarded to you in the group or individually.
Union Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad had sent a notice to WhatsApp on July 3 after it found that disinformation and provocative messages played a major role in instigating mob violence in various parts of the country. Prasad further added that while the government welcomes social media applications such as WhatsApp, Facebook, and Twitter, they must remain vigilant on messages instigating violence.
With agency inputs