WhatsApp Makes Changes in India After Deadly Attacks

WhatsApp Makes Changes in India After Deadly Attacks

WhatsApp will also meet non-government bodies and other groups in New Delhi, the capital, on Friday to discuss ways to curb the spread of false messages, said one source at the company, who asked not to be named, invoking company policy. "If they remain mute spectators they are liable to be treated as abettors and thereafter face consequent legal action", the ministry said in a statement.

Whatsapp is limiting the number of times a user can forward a message following a string of mob lynchings in India stemming from misinformation.

India's ministry of electronics and IT (MEITY) said WhatsApp "cannot evade accountability and responsibility" after the killings were linked to "irresponsible and explosive messages" circulating on its platform.

India is WhatsApp's biggest market worldwide, with more than 200 million users, and the company has been expanding its efforts to combat the spread of misinformation in the country.

With this move, WhatsApp hopes to control the spread of fake news in India.

Outside of India, users will be limited to forwarding messages to 20 chats at a time.

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. WhatsApp, which had added a feature to let people forward a message to multiple chats at once a few years ago, had earlier this month launched a "forward label" to identify messages that are not original and have been forwarded.

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Well-known and generally liked, including by yours truly, for its simplicity and convenience, WhatsApp needs to make more changes to curb the escalation of fake news.

Whatsapp said, "Today, we're launching a test to limit forwarding that will apply to everyone using WhatsApp".

"Together we can fight false information", read full-page advertisements in some top English language-newspapers, part of a series that will also feature in regional-language dailies. And if those 1,280 people then forward the message to five chats, it's not hard to see how fake news could still spread like wildfire across the nation. Numerous mobs attacked people they thought were child kidnappers because of rumors that had spread on WhatsApp.

Three people have been beaten to death in recent weeks. The Facebook-owned messaging service is now taking some measures to deal with these concerns after it came under fire for amplifying violence.

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.

"The government is doing everything to ensure WhatsApp and other social media are not misused by vigilante groups or random mobs", he said.

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