In the list of most users for whatsapp the social media network India leads from the front. Indians are using WhatsApp more than the world and the country is recording a high number of cases where violence is triggered by fake news and rumours. Mob lynchings triggered by false incendiary messages in India led to authorities calling for steps to prevent the circulation of false texts and provocative content. It also caused a public relations nightmare.
In order to curb the issue of spreading fake news, Tech Giants such as Google, Facebook and WhatsApp are making their best initiatives and alternatives. However, detecting fake news is not as simple as it sounds. In order to detect fake news and rumour, human intervention and investigation is needed, and it takes a lot of time to stamp it as true or fake. And using artificial intelligence to work the same is not as effective.
Hence, coming up with a temporary solution, for now, seems ideal until there is a final method that can detect, block and eradicate fake and rumour news. And that temporary solution is being tested by WhatsApp.
In an announcement on July 19, WhatsApp on their blogpost confirmed that they are starting a new feature that will limit the number of message forwards a user can do at once.
“We’re launching a test to limit forwarding that will apply to everyone using WhatsApp. In India — where people forward more messages, photos, and videos than any other country in the world — we’ll also test a lower limit of 5 chats at once and we’ll remove the quick forward button next to media messages,” mentions the blog post.
Indians will be first affected with this feature once it is rolled out to the public. The new feature will probably help cut down the disease of fake news by a huge margin. If not eradicate, the new feature will definitely slow down the speed at which rumour and fake news are presently spreading out. The feature will limit the user to sending or forwarding the message and media to a maximum of 5 people only.
While WhatsApp was initially designed as a private messaging app, the boom of the messaging platform soon went out of hand and became the main means of mass communication. WhatsApp is now destined to go head back and try to keep WhatsApp what it was designed for — private messaging.
“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,” concluded WhatsApp on the blog.