WhatsApp restricts message forwarding in an attempt to reduce fake news, lynchings

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WhatsApp restricts message forwarding in an attempt to reduce fake news, lynchings


  • WhatsApp’s latest bid to appease the Indian government includes restricting the amount of people a user can forward a chat message to at one go.
  • The quick forward button to advance messages will also be disabled.
  • The Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology issued its second warning against the messaging service for propagating incidences of lynching.
In the wake of recent lynching incidents across India, WhatsApp has been on the hook for spreading fake news and instigating violence. Forwarded messages are now tagged, but WhatsApp is taking it a step further by restricting users to only be able to forward messages to a maximum of five other users at one time.

Even the quick forward button is going to disappear so that ‘spreading misinformation’ isn’t at anyone’s fingertips.

This comes after the Indian government threatened to take legal action against the Facebook-owned entity for being the fuel that lit the fire - for the second time. Their take on the situation is that the messaging service is at the crux of spreading misinformation and fake news. Over the past two months in India, there have been at least 20 incidences of lynching that have been reported and all have been instigated due to fake messages being circulated via WhatsApp.
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The Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology take on the situation is that while fake news is spread by ‘mischief mongers’, WhatsApp is still the medium that’s being used to spread the concerned propaganda. And, therein, lies the responsibility of the messaging service to take remedial measures to prevent such behaviour.

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