WhatsApp vs Indian government on fake news circulation: Key developments

The instant messaging app has over one billion users globally, of which over 200 million are in India.

WhatsApp vs Indian government on fake news circulation: Key developments

New Delhi: Facebook owned WhatsApp is launching a test to limit forwarding messages that will apply to all users in India in a bid to curb rumours and circulation of fake news.

WhatsApp has received flak from the Indian government over fake news and false information being circulated on its messaging platform that have incited mob-fury, triggering multiple cases of lynching across the country recently.

The instant messaging app has over one billion users globally, of which over 200 million are in India.

Here are five major developments in WhatsApp vs Indian government on fake news circulation:

In its response to the first notice by the Indian government, WhatsApp had said fake news, misinformation and hoaxes can be checked by the government, civil society and technology companies "working together".

On Thursday, the government shot off a second notice to WhatsApp asking it to come out with effective solutions to curb the menace of fake news beyond just labelling forwards.

While the company is yet to respond to the notice, the blogpost said the company believes that "these changes - which we'll continue to evaluate - will help keep WhatsApp the way it was designed to be: a private messaging app".

WhatsApp had previously stated that it had launched new safety features, including a label that clearly identifies forwarded messages and controls for group conversations in the last few weeks. The messaging service also brought out full-page advertisement in leading newspapers, first in the series of its user awareness campaign, giving "easy tips" to decide if information received is indeed true.

Outlining steps it has taken to curb abuse of its platform, WhatsApp -- in its response sent earlier this month -- had said that it has the ability to prevent spam but since it cannot see the content of private messages, blocking can be done only based on user reports.

With Agency Inputs

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