WhatsApp to limit forwarding messages in India after mob lynchings | News | DW | 20.07.2018
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WhatsApp to limit forwarding messages in India after mob lynchings

As part of efforts to curb the spread of misinformation, WhatsApp will launch a test to limit forwarding messages. Further limits will be placed on users in India, where the forwarding function has led to mob lynchings.

WhatsApp on Thursday announced it was launching a test to limit the number of chats users could forward messages to, with additional limits being placed on WhatsApp users in India.

Mob lynchings in India, often caused by false provocative messages, led authorities to call for measures to prevent the spread of false texts and incendiary content.

Read more: How fake news is widening social rifts in India

India is the Facebook-owned firm's biggest market, with more than 200 million users.

"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," Whatsapp said in a blog post.

20 killed in 2 months

More than 20 people have been killed by mobs in the past two months in India after being accused of child kidnapping and other crimes in messages that went viral on WhatsApp.

The test is the latest move by WhatsApp to curb the spread of provocative content.

Read more: Is WhatsApp a threat to India's security?

On July 10, WhatsApp announced it was introducing a labeling system for forwarded messages, which would show which messages had been forwarded to you.

WhatsApp has also bought full-page adverts in Indian newspapers to alert the public to the spread of false information.

"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," WhatsApp said.

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law/kms (AFP, Reuters)

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