WhatsApp is developing a new function to prevent the propagation of false rumors in India following a number of lynchings triggered by shared fake news reports on the instant messaging app.
Facebook’s service, WhatsApp, is piloting a feature in India that will display to users when a sender has resent a message rather than writing it, the app’s representatives stated in a statement sent to the Indian government yesterday, July 4th.
India is the biggest WhatsApp consumer market, with over 200 million users on the WhatsApp platform monthly.
The Indian government sent a message to Facebook, the owners of WhatsApp, on Tuesday, after an outbreak of street violence. In the past weeks, about 12 people have been killed in different cases after they were allegedly accused of kidnapping children.
“Irresponsible and explosive messages full of rumors and provocation are being distributed in WhatsApp,” stated the Indian Ministry of Technology.
WhatsApp took measures and works on a new function to stop the propagation of false messages in India
In their reply, WhatsApp’s representatives stated that they were “horrified by these terrible acts of violence.”
The company outlined a series of changes it already implemented to maintain user safety and avoid misuse of the app, which included the new feature that let people know when a message was forwarded instead of being written, and it plans to launch this one soon.
“This could serve as an important signal for recipients to think twice before forwarding messages because it allows users to know if the content they received was written by the person they know or a potential rumor from someone else,” WhatsApp’s representatives stated.
WhatsApp is likewise working together with Indian academic specialists to “learn more about the spread of disinformation” and recently added a feature that allows group administrators to control who can post messages.”
Facebook teamed up recently with Boom Live, an Indian company, to fight rumors on its WhatsApp instant messaging app.