WhatsApp to limit message forwarding following lynchings in India spurred by misinformation

WhatsApp to limit message forwarding following lynchings in India spurred by misinformation
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WhatsApp is limiting the number of times a user can forward a message following a string of mob lynchings in India stemming from misinformation.

WhatsApp users in the country will now only be able to forward a message five times. The company is also removing the “quick forward” feature, which created a streamlined in-app process for passing along messages.

WhatsApp is testing a different, undisclosed cap outside the country.

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In India, “people forward more messages, photos, and videos than any other country in the world,” according to WhatsApp.

The rapid spread of misinformation across the platform has led to 20 people accused of child abduction being killed at the hands of violent mobs.

“We’re horrified by the violence in India, and we’ve announced a number of different product changes to help address these issues,” WhatsApp said in a statement to The Guardian, saying that the situation is “a challenge which requires an action by civil society, government and tech companies.”

Misinformation has proven more difficult to address on the messaging service than Facebook. Because of its encrypted, WhatsApp can’t see what users send one another.

On Sunday, police in India arrested 25 people after a mob, spurred by information on the platform, killed a man in southern Karnataka. Two friends of Mohammad Azam, 27, were also injured in the attack, and three police officers were wounded trying to rescue him.