Facebook owned messaging app, WhatsApp, is limiting the number of chats users can forward messages to in a bid to curb the spread of “fake news” following mob lynching in India.
In India, the spread of false rumors via WhatsApp about child kidnappers has reportedly caused 24 deaths since April. This gave rise to mobs that went round lynching suspected kidnappers.
The viral clip showed people driving up and snatching children but Indian authorities have since clarified that the video was edited to look like a real kidnapping.
WhatsApp has 1.5 billion users with 0.5 billion being in India alone, hence the huge impact of inciteful messages.
Now WhatsApp has developed a feature that flags received messages as “Forwarded.”
Users will be able to forward messages to 20 chats at once but those in India will be limited to only 5.
The app users in India will reportedly no longer have the “quick forward” button next to messages that contain a piece of media, such as a photo or video.
But critics say that the new move which WhatsApp has termed as a “test” might not work because of the Group chats that have at least 10 members.
In more densely populated countries like India, a group chat will have at least 50 people which will give an “erroneous message” the impact needed.
“We believe that these changes — which we’ll continue to evaluate — will help keep WhatsApp the way it was designed to be: a private messaging app,” it said.
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