As part of its commitment to users safety, WhatsApp announced last week that it would begin labelling forwarded messages so that users know whether the sender wrote something or simply forwarded it. The feature keeps WhatsApp a more “private messaging app” while also a reliable way to communicate with others.
Now, WhatsApp is tweaking its forwarding feature it launched several years ago, to continue in this vein. The feature that allows users to forward messages to multiple users at a time will now be limited. In its announcement for the test, WhatsApp also explains that users in India – “where people forward more messages, photos, and videos than any other country in the world” will get a lower limit of “5 chats at once.”
WhatsApp announced limits on the forwarding of messages by its 200 million Indian users in an effort to stop a spate of horrific lynchings and to assuage government threats of legal action in its biggest market.More than 20 people have been butchered by crazed mobs in the past two months across India after being accused of child kidnapping and other crimes in viral messages circulated wildly on WhatsApp.
Limiting the ability of its users to forward messages
India’s government, scrambling to find a response, threatened legal action against WhatsApp, saying the “medium” for spreading malicious rumours “cannot evade responsibility and accountability”.The Facebook-owned firm responded on Friday with an announcement it will test limiting the ability of its users to forward messages and cap at five the number of contacts or groups that messages can be forwarded to.
Remove the quick forward button next to media messages
It addition, it said it will “remove the quick forward button next to media messages,” a statement said.”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,” the company said.Under pressure from Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s government, the firm had already announced new features to help users identify messages that have been forwarded.
WhatsApp had also bought full-page adverts in Indian newspapers with tips on how to spot misinformation.But in a strongly worded statement released late Thursday, India’s information technology ministry said this was not enough
Furthermore, WhatsApp will now also be removing the quick forward button next to media messages. The company said that it would continue to evaluate the changes, but we all know that if they end up making WhatsApp safer for its users, they will remain.