In yet another measure to check mass forwarding of messages, instant Messaging app WhatsApp has said that it will limit the forwarding of messages to five chats at one go. Additionally, the company will remove the quick forward button that appears next to media messages.
The latest announcement comes amid government’s warning of legal action against the messaging platform that has often been misused to propagate fake news triggering incidents of mob lynchings and violence in India.
In a blog post, WhatsApp noted that its users in India “forward more messages, photos, and videos, than any other country in the world”. The Facebook-owned company has over one billion users globally, of which over 200 million are in India.
“Today, we’re launching a test to limit forwarding that will apply to everyone using WhatsApp. In India… we’ll also test a lower limit of five chats at once and we’ll remove the quick forward button next to media messages,” the blog post said.
On Thursday, the government shot off a second letter to WhatsApp asking it to come out with effective solutions to curb the menace of fake news beyond just labelling forwards.
It also warned the company that mediums used for propagation of rumours are liable to be treated as ‘abettors’ and can face legal consequences if they remain “mute spectators”, PTI reported.
At least 31 people have been killed over the last one year in 10 states including Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh and Maharashtra by crowds mobilised by rumours of spread over WhatsApp.
WhatsApp had previously stated that it had launched new safety features, including a label that clearly identifies forwarded messages and controls for group conversations in the last few weeks.