After getting a whip from the Government of India regarding control of spams, WhatsApp is adding some new India exclusive features to its app. The latest addition limits the amount of times you can forward messages to multiple chats.
You can forward to only 5 people at a time
Originally, users could forward messages on to multiple groups, but a new trial will see that forwarding limited to 20 groups worldwide. In India, however, which is WhatsApp’s largest market with 200 million users, the limit will be just five. In addition, a ‘quick forward’ option that allowed users to pass on images and videos to others rapidly is being removed from India.
In the press release, WhatsApp mentions that users in its biggest market, India, will see a limit of five chats at once. “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.
The change is the direct response after a series of violent mob lynchings in India.
Last week, police arrested more than 48 people they said were part of the mob that killed a tech worker in southern India after the group suspected he was a child kidnapper due to fake messages they read on WhatsApp.
Another incident took place where one man dead and two others severely beaten after rumors of their efforts to abduct children from a village spread on WhatsApp. Reportedly 17 other people have been killed in the past year under similar circumstances, with police saying false rumors had spread via WhatsApp.
In response, WhatsApp has also bought full-page newspaper ads to warn about false information on its service.
Times of India today reports that Facebook and WhatsApp plan to introduce a fake news verification system that it used recently in Mexico to help combat spam messages and the spreading of incorrect news and information. The paper said that the companies have already held talks with India’s Election Commission as the saga may also spill into India’s upcoming national general election next year.