Govt may sue WhatsApp for abetting lynchings

Elias Hubbard
July 20, 2018

The company said in a blog post Thursday evening in the United States that it is launching a test to limit forwarding on WhatsApp in India, where people forward more messages and videos than anywhere else in the world.

"And as we've added new features, we've been careful to try and keep that feeling of intimacy which people say they love", the blog post said. The ministry has also requested that the industry's payments overseer, the National Payments Corporation of India, confirm that WhatsApp is fully compliant with its requirements, they said.

WhatsApp, in the statement, said that these changes will help keep the messaging app the way it was originally created to be: a private messaging app.

The development has come at a time when the Facebook-owned firm is embroiled in a controversy over fake news leading to mob lynching episodes. On Thursday, WhatsApp said it would test curbs on users' ability to forward photos and videos. Thanks to the new limit, a message can not be forwarded to more than 5 people in the contact list now at a time.

Demanding more details about its payment services (WhatsApp Pay), the government of India has put Whatsapp payment service nationwide launch on hold.

"How they explained it to us in a presentation is that if a person wanted to forward one message to 100 people, earlier he could do it easily". In India, where WhatsApp's mainstream popularity is legit spinning out of control, that limit will be five conversations, and media messages are also to be stripped away of a quick forward button that was apparently being abused.

You will still be able to send a message to all people in your contact list, or to all the groups that you may have in your WhatsApp.

Do you think that limiting forwarded messages will work?

In other parts of the globe too, Whatsapp has introduced this feature to limit forwards - it is 20 for others, but in India, it is only 5.

In January, the company released WhatsApp Business for Android for small businesses to respond to customers and manage a presence on the messaging platform.

According to the media report, the instant messaging service that it would look out for "spam messaging techniques" used by hostile actors from the time the model code of conduct kicks in and "especially 48 hours before polling". Taking note of the recent incident in Karnakata's Bidar, where a 32-year-old software engineer was killed after messages about child lifters did the rounds on WhatsApp, the ministry rued that "rampant circulation of irresponsible messages in large volumes" on the platform have not been addressed adequately by the company.

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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