WhatsApp To Limit Message Forwarding After Violence In India
India has been subject to a lot of violence because of fake news spreading across social media platforms. Because of fake WhatsApp news going viral in the district of Tiruvannamalai, a family of five lost their lives. Facebook currently owns the messaging platform and is now planning to bring major changes in the way WhatsApp works. In their latest announcement, Facebook said that they will limit the number of messages users can forward.
The limit currently in India for forwarding a message is 250. The new WhatsApp update will bring this down to just 5 in India and globally the limit will be 20. The latest case of violence happened in Tamil Nadu. 65-year-old Rukmani and other four family members were travelling to a temple in Tiruvannamalai. They stopped at a village close to the temple to ask for direction when a woman wrongly suspected the family as child lifters. The rumour spread across the village via WhatsApp. The woman called her son who was ready with a mob. To avoid them, the family decided to turn back but found themselves surrounded by another mob in the neighbouring village. Again, because the news spread via WhatsApp. The family was then murdered.
The above mentioned is just one of the many cases where the victims were subject to brutality because of fake news. This led to a dire need for some serious changes in the way the social media platforms work. The Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology, India raised its concerns about fake news to WhatsApp. Which is one of the reasons why the update is now the messaging platform’s top priority.
Social media platforms are a space where people can share their opinions. However, people take this freedom of speech for granted. Regulations and protocols for people on social media is still a grey area. It is reassuring to see platforms like WhatsApp taking steps to manage and hopefully control the spreading of such fake information.