How lynchings in India are reshaping WhatsApp features

In an effort to curb mob violence and lynching in India, popular messaging application, WhatsApp, will be restricting the number of forwards to five. WhatsApp will also remove the quick forward button which makes it easier to forward messages to hundreds of groups within seconds.

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How lynchings in India are reshaping WhatsApp features
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WhatsApp’s announcement of limiting chat forwards has been welcomed in India. On Thursday, the messaging giant announced plans to prevent the spread of fake news that has incited violence by restricting the chats forwards. WhatsApp while making this announcement, said, “We’re launching a test to limit forwarding on WhatsApp. In India — where people forward more messages, photos and videos than any other country in the world — we’ll also test a lower limit of five chat forwards at once and we’ll remove the quick forward button next to media messages.”

According to a notice from the Indian government, WhatsApp can face charges as it will act as ‘abettors’ if forwarded messages lead to a violent outbreak. Thus WhatsApp has taken the strong step to ensure it helps India in stopping communal hatred.

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With more than 200 million people using WhatsApp, the Centre has warned WhatsApp to monitor the sharing of false information. Sharing of false information has led to communal riots, lynching and brutal killings in the country.

According to a notice from the Central government of India, WhatsApp can face charges as it will act as ‘abettors’ if forwarded messages lead to violence.

In May, two people were killed in the state of Tamil Nadu because of a false message spread through Whatsapp. The false message had two photographs of men taken by police with the tag “Please take care of your children. Don’t send them alone.” The message spread rumours that a gang from north India had arrived to kidnap children. The innocent men who died were victims of false rumours spread by Whatsapp!

WhatsApp Messenger is a freeware messaging service with features of Voice over IP (VoIP). It was created by WhatsApp Inc. in Mountain View, California and has been acquired by Facebook in February 2014 for $19.3 billion. As per statistics are taken in February 2018, it has a user base of over one and a half billion people.