Sunday, 22 July 2018 06:32

WhatsApp to curb message forwarding after deaths in India Featured

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Facebook is rolling out software changes to make it harder for WhatsApp messages to be forwarded following complaints that spreading of rumours led to deaths in India.

Authorities had pressed the company for action after several people were killed in India, the biggest market for WhatsApp with more than 200 million users.

In a statement, WhatsApp said: "A few years back we added a feature to WhatsApp that lets you forward a message to multiple chats at once.

"Today, we're launching a test to limit forwarding that will apply to everyone using WhatsApp."

Earlier this month, the Indian Ministry of Electronics and IT said many innocent people had been lynched as a result of these messages circulating on WhatsApp.

It said while the country's law enforcement authorities were taking steps to apprehend those responsible for such acts, "the abuse of platforms like WhatsApp for repeated circulation of such provocative content is equally a matter of deep concern".

The WhatsApp statement said: "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 5 chats at once and we'll remove the quick forward button next to media messages.

"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."

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Sam Varghese has been writing for iTWire since 2006, a year after the site came into existence. For nearly a decade thereafter, he wrote mostly about free and open source software, based on his own use of this genre of software. Since May 2016, he has been writing across many areas of technology. He has been a journalist for nearly 40 years in India (Indian Express and Deccan Herald), the UAE (Khaleej Times) and Australia (Daily Commercial News (now defunct) and The Age). His personal blog is titled Irregular Expression.

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