WhatsApp’s latest efforts to fight fake news in India ‘not good enough’: Report

To identify messages forwarded multiple times, WhatsApp had introduced a label to denote them

The spread of misinformation has become a big issue in the country that has also resulted in the deaths of many. In the middle of it all is WhatsApp where the spread of fake news is rampant.

WhatsApp. Image: Reuters

WhatsApp. Image: Reuters

In order to identify the nature of a forwarded message, WhatsApp started labelling messages that have been forwarded multiple times. So, when a message is forwarded once by a user, it will be labelled “Forwarded” with a single arrow icon. If the message is forwarded more than five times, it will be indicated by a double arrow icon. However, it isn’t good enough according to the government.

According to a report by Financial Express, a source from the ministry of electronics and IT (MeitY) said that they want traceability of messages to help law enforcement agencies. The government had been pressuring the instant messaging platform to implement ways to identify the origin of any kind of message by introducing traceability into WhatsApp. Even IT minister Ravi Shankar Prasad asked the company to develop a way to pinpoint the origin of messages to curb fake news last month.

WhatsApp had earlier limited the forwarding of messages to only five chats at a time. It also removed the quick forward button for photos and videos. The government wants the platform to be more responsible in keeping in check the spread of fake news. It’s taking steps to make social media platforms more accountable. Financial Express reported that new rules are being worked upon to ensure that these platforms provide information and assistance within 72 hours of the request.

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