WhatsApp tests limiting message forwarding to 5 chats in India

Elias Hubbard
July 20, 2018

WhatsApp states that in addition to the testing of of limiting forwarding, it will also test lowering the limit of simultaneous forwarding to 5 chats at a time and users in India will also see the quick forward option next to media messages disappear. Going forward, WhatsApp users in India will be able to forward a message to five chats at once.

"We believe that these changes - which we'll continue to evaluate - will help keep WhatsApp the way it was created to be: a private messaging app", WhatsApp's spokesman Carl Woog wrote.

WhatsApp said that use of the app in this way violates its terms of service - as well as why the app was built in the first place.

WhatsApp has received flak from the Indian government over fake news and false information being circulated on its messaging platform.

Under pressure from Prime Minister Narendra Modi´s government, the firm had already announced new features to help users identify messages that have been forwarded.

The government on Thursday also asked WhatsApp to find the originators of provocative messages that led to several cases of mob violence across the country. "When rumours and fake news get propagated by mischief mongers, the medium used for such propagation can not evade responsibility and accountability", the government said, adding, "If they remain mute spectators, they are liable to be treated as abettors and thereafter face consequent legal action".

"It is regretted that the enormity of the challenge and the rampant abuse happening in the country leading to the repeated commissioning of crimes pursuant to the rampant circulation of irresponsible messages in large volumes on their platform have not been addressed adequately by WhatsApp", it said. But this is a feature that has also been used to rapidly spread false information.

Four days after a software engineer was lynched by a mob over child lifting rumours that were spread on social media, including WhatsApp, in Bidar in Karnataka, the Centre warned the Facebook-owned company Thursday that it could face legal action "if they remain mute spectators" when rumours and fake news are propagated through such mediums. Numerous mobs attacked people they thought were child kidnappers because of rumors that had spread on WhatsApp.

The Supreme Court has also asked parliament to consider enacting a new law to effectively deal with incidents of mob lynching, saying "horrendous acts of mobocracy" can not be allowed to become a new norm.

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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