WhatsApp limits ‘forwarded messages’ to curb fake news incited violence
This week has been very tough for Facebook-owned messaging application WhatsApp. WhatsApp has been widely used to spread fake news and rumors in India. Almost 20 lives have been claimed as a result of mob-lynching incidents that happened in India. The Government of India is now pressurizing Facebook to take measures to curb the spread of fake news, rumors, and misleading news.
The Information Technology Ministry of India has issued a very strong statement on Thursday saying that,
“If (WhatsApp) remain, mute spectators, they are liable to be treated as abettors and thereafter face consequent legal action.”
This strong message by the IT ministry of India was triggered when a mob of 2000 people killed an innocent man due to fake rumors suggesting him a kidnapper.
Owing to the building pressure, for now, WhatsApp is limiting forwarded message functionality to 20 people. Also, it is buying full-page ads in Pakistan and India education people about fake news and how it can be identified.
Before limiting these forwarded messages, WhatsApp also introduced a label ‘forward’ which was attached to mass forwarded messages but it was not really helpful.