WhatsApp Restricts Message Forwarding service to only 5 chats. The Instant Messaging giant has said it will restrict message forwarding to only 5 chats in a bid to curb the spread of misinformation and fake news in India, its largest markets.
Initially, you could easily get in touch with your family, friends and with your co-workers without any hustle or bustle by sending upto 256 people at once. But due to continuous stern warnings given by the Indian Government WhatsApp has recently announced that it will restrict messages forwarding to only 5 chats in India.
WhatsApp, owned by Facebook, now has 1 billion users worldwide and is the biggest online messenger app on the market. WhatsApp is the most simple, reliable and most secure messaging app available on all phones all over the world with build end-to-end encryption. With end-to-end encrypted, your messages and calls are secured so only you and the person you’re communicating with can read or listen to them, and nobody in between, not even WhatsApp.
The following measures have been taken as the mob lynching and deaths continues. The continuous circulation of fake news and rumours leading to the numerous mob lynching, communal clashes and deaths has provoked the facebook owner to take this drastic measure.
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In their blogs whatsApp said ” we’re launching a test to limit forwarding that will apply to everyone using WhatsApp. In India- people sends more messages, pictures and videos than any other country in the world. We’ll be restricting the message forwarding to 5 chats and we’ll also remove the quick forward button next to media messages. The company feels that this change will help WhatsApp in retaining its private messaging app service in the new and enhanced way for what it was designed to be.
WhatsApp Restricts Message Forwarding, Know why these changes have been made!!
Receiving numerous Flaws and Criticisms– WhatsApp had to face numerous flaws and criticism by the Indian government for outstretching and circulating fake and inciting messages on a messaging platform. Indian government had instructed WhatsApp to take mandate steps to tackle such sort of problems, that can bring in “accountability and facilitate enforcement of law” in the wake of rising incidents of rumours on WhatsApp triggering lynching incidents in the country.
Increasing cases of mob lynching and deaths– No one had any idea that a small fake message could lead to the death of numerous innocent people. The messaging app, with close to 200 million users in the country, has supposedly become an instrument to spread not just fake news, but also rumours leading to violence. The killings have been fueled by rumors that the victims were beef eaters, cow slaughterers or child traffickers. At least 31 people have been killed over the last one year in 10 states including Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh and Maharashtra by crowds mobilised by rumours of spread over WhatsApp.
Mandated by Indian government to find a solution- Ministry of electronics and IT (MEITY) had served another official notice to WhatsApp one day earlier to ask for a more effective solution to stop the spread of fake and misleading messages. The Government had sent out a stern warning to Facebook-owned messaging platform earlier this month also, asking to immediately stop the spread of “irresponsible and explosive messages filled with rumours and provocation” on its platform. The government has directed and warned that companies like WhatsApp and other messaging platforms who are the medium involved in spreading fake and misleading messages will also be considered as culprit.
These steps are not enough:
According to the Technical Analysts, the steps taken by the facebook-owned company to restrict the message forwarding to 5 chats will curb the misleading information from being transmitted and will have positive results but this step is not enough. People will still continue fueling fake and misleading messages.
Positive Effect of the Step taken:
Thanks to the new limit, a message cannot be forwarded to more than 5 people in the contact list now at a time. You will still be able to send a message to all people in your contact list, or to all the groups that you may have in your WhatsApp. But to do so, you will have to do it by forwarding the message to 5 chats at a time.
So for example, if you want to forward a message to 20 chats, you will have to “share” it a minimum of four times. This means you will have to make more effort to forward messages and will have to spend more time doing it, and that could mean a bit of speed-breaker on misinformation.