War against fake news: After India rollout, WhatsApp limits message forwarding globally

New Delhi, Agencies | Updated : 22 January 2019, 09:48 AM
Meanwhile, the Facebook-owned messaging app is also working on fingerprint authentication feature to protect the chats. (File photo)
Meanwhile, the Facebook-owned messaging app is also working on fingerprint authentication feature to protect the chats. (File photo)
HIGHLIGHTS
    • In July 2018, WhatsApp had rolled out safeguards in India.
    • It limited number of users to whom message can be forwarded.
    • It also ran newspaper ads to raise awareness about fake news.

Facebook-owned mobile messaging platform WhatsApp has announced it was restricting how many times any given message can be forwarded in an effort to boost privacy and security. In July, WhatsApp rolled out safeguards in India that included limiting the number of users to whom a message can be forwarded. It also ran newspaper ads to raise awareness about fake news.

That decision followed threats by the Indian government to take action after crazed mobs butchered more than 20 people accused of child kidnapping and other crimes in viral, widely-circulated WhatsApp messages. WhatsApp said its latest move to extend the restrictions to all users came after a six-month review of user feedback.

"The forward limit significantly reduced forwarded messages around the world," read a company statement on Monday about a test run of the forwarding limit. "Starting today, all users on the latest versions of WhatsApp can now forward to only five chats at once, which will help keep WhatsApp focused on private messaging with close contacts." Previously, users could forward any given message up to 20 times on the app.

"We'll continue to listen to user feedback about their experience, and over time, look for new ways of addressing viral content," the WhatsApp statement read. Founded in 2009 and purchased by Facebook in 2014, WhatsApp said that in early 2018 it had more than 1.5 billion users who exchanged 65 billion messages per day.

Meanwhile, the Facebook-owned messaging app is also working on fingerprint authentication feature to protect the chats. It means that the user whose fingerprint is registered with the app will be the only person able to open WhatsApp and use it. As per a report by WABetaInfo, the Facebook-owned app has rolled out the WhatsApp beta for Android 2.19.3 update where the new authentication feature for Android users was spotted.

In the report, it also states that after working on the Face ID and Touch ID integration on WhatsApp for iOS, the app has started to work on the WhatsApp fingerprint authentication for Android OS. However, Face ID and Touch ID integration for iOS is not available yet because of development reasons.

First Published: Tuesday, January 22, 2019 09:42 AM
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