Following the global concern that WhatsApp is used to spread fake news, wrought videos, photos, and other material. Starting from Monday Facebook-owned chat service WhatsApp is globally limiting the number of times a user can forward a message.
Why Facebook’s WhatsApp is limiting message forwarding?
As the parent company, Facebook continues to stay under scrutiny due to fake news. WhatsApp, after the spread of rumors last October during Brazil’s presidential election, is globally limiting message forwarding to five recipients. Initially, the user could forward a message to up to 256 users or groups which was eventually limited to 20 times in July.
When was the testing started by WhatsApp to limit message forwarding?
WhatsApp began testing the message limit in July in India followed by a rash of violence and gallows from users.
What else WhatsApp did to curb fake news?
To tackle spread of fake news WhatsApp last summer labeled forwarded messages and removed a quick forward button next to images, videos and audio clips. This measure reduced forwarding by 25% globally.
What WhatsApp has to say about this?
“WhatsApp carefully evaluated this test and listened to user feedback over a six-month period. The forward limit significantly reduced forwarded messages around the world,” the WhatsApp spokesman said.
“We’ll continue to listen to user feedback about their experience, and over time, look for new ways of addressing viral content.”
The company said Monday in a blog post that the newly lowered limit on forwarded messages “will help keep WhatsApp focused on private messaging with close contacts.”
Incidents that took place due to the spread of false news?
Last year due to spread of viral hoaxes, in June in India two men were violently beaten to death by a mob in a village, as they suspected them to be child abductors and organ harvesters. This number went up to 20 people. Due to this in a statement in early July, Indian Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology called on WhatsApp to “take immediate action to end this menace and ensure that their platform is not used for such [mala fide] activities.” The service’s announcement about its forwarding limit arrived just weeks later.
In addition to this, in October during Brazil’s Presidential election WhatsApp was used to spread fake news related to challenger during the election.
Will this step curb the problem?
As per WhatsApp, forwarding limit significantly reduced forwarded messages around the world. Also, the company says they would continue to evaluate the effects of the changes.
But the question here is; is it be possible to monitor an end to end encryption. Because monitoring end to end encryption is beyond the purview of fact checkers and even the platform.