WhatsApp to limit message forwarding to five chats in India to counter mob lynching

Several people have lost their lives in the past one year in India by lynch mobs after rumours of child lifting triggered via messages on WhatsApp.

Published: 20th July 2018 10:16 AM  |   Last Updated: 21st July 2018 05:49 AM   |  A+A-

Image of a protest against mob lynching used for representational purpose only

Express News Service

NEW DELHI:To curb the spread of fake news and rumours on its platform, which has led to several cases of lynching, WhatsApp is launching a test to limit forwarding of messages by its users.

WhatsApp on Friday said that its users in India will not be allowed to forward more than five messages (including regular chats, videos, documents, photos and GIFs) at a time. WhatsApp hopes that this measure will curb the frequency of messages being forwarded.

The company is also removing the quick forward button that appears next to media messages. “In India, people forward more messages, photos, and videos than any other country in the world,” said WhatsApp, which has more than 200 million users in India. The new features will come into effect immediately for Android and iOS devices which have received the latest WhatsApp update.

WhatsApp came up with the new measure a day after it received a notice from the Ministry of Electronics and IT to take the steps immediately.The ministry said that if the company, whose medium is used for propagating rumours, remained “mute spectators”, it was liable to be treated as “abettors” and face the consequent legal action.

The ministry referred to the recent incident in Bidar, where a 32-year-old software engineer was lynched after rumours of him being a child lifter went viral, and said that rampant abuse of its platform had “not been addressed adequately by WhatsApp.”In the last one year, nearly three dozen people have been killed by mobs incited by forwarded WhatsApp messages.

Stay up to date on all the latest Nation news with The New Indian Express App. Download now
(Get the news that matters from New Indian Express on WhatsApp. Click this link and hit 'Click to Subscribe'. Follow the instructions after that.)

Comments

Disclaimer : We respect your thoughts and views! But we need to be judicious while moderating your comments. All the comments will be moderated by the newindianexpress.com editorial. Abstain from posting comments that are obscene, defamatory or inflammatory, and do not indulge in personal attacks. Try to avoid outside hyperlinks inside the comment. Help us delete comments that do not follow these guidelines.

The views expressed in comments published on newindianexpress.com are those of the comment writers alone. They do not represent the views or opinions of newindianexpress.com or its staff, nor do they represent the views or opinions of The New Indian Express Group, or any entity of, or affiliated with, The New Indian Express Group. newindianexpress.com reserves the right to take any or all comments down at any time.

facebook twitter whatsapp