WhatsApp to limit Message Forwarding to 5 Chats to curb Circulation of Fake News


WhatsApp is going to cap message forwarding feature for Indian users by limiting the feature to just 5 chats to keep a check on the circulation of fake news. Reportedly, it’s also going to remove the quick forward button that appears next to the media messages so as to reduce the circulation of fake messages that have led to incidents of mob lynching in the past.

In a blog post, WhatsApp has noted that Indian users forward more messages, photos, and videos than any other country in the world. Notably, the Facebook-owned company has more than 1 Billion users across the globe among which more than 200 million users are in India.

WhatsApp has earlier received criticism from the Indian government for circulation of fake news and false information leading to incidents of mob lynching across the country.

Yesterday, the government sent off second notice to the media platform and asked to come out with effective solutions to prevent fake news from being circulated. The government has also warned the tech giant that the medium used for spreading rumors are liable to be treated as ‘abettors’ and can face legal consequences if they act as “mute spectators”.

Apparently, the platform has also started labeling the forwarded messages so that the users know in advance that the message has been forwarded. It’s interesting to note that what started as a private messenger has been transformed into a medium for group discussions and debates.

Apart from labeling the forwarded messages, the company also gave out a full-page advertisement on a leading newspaper in which “easy tips” were mentioned to decide if the information received through messages is true or not. Besides, it’s also working on a digital literacy programme to educate the users as to how they can spot false messages and stay away from the rumors.