WhatsApp to restrict message forwarding to five chats in India


New Delhi: Under unrelenting pressure from the Indian government to curb the menace of rumormongers spreading fake news on its platform, the WhatsApp on Friday said that its users in India will not be allowed to forward more than five chats at once.

In a statement, WhatsApp said it is launching a test to limit forwarding on its application. “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 chats at once and we’ll remove the quick forward button next to media messages.”

On Thursday, the Centre had sent a second letter to WhatsApp asking for “more effective solutions” 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.

Ministry of Electronics and IT (MEITY) had sent out a stern warning to WhatsApp earlier this month also, asking the Facebook-owned messaging platform to immediately stop the spread of “irresponsible and explosive messages filled with rumours and provocation” on its platform.

The messaging platform has responded to the government letter saying that it will use a mix of technology along with new features in its application user interface to identify forwarded messages and work with fact checkers and academia to address the alarming issue.

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