WhatsApp has rolled out special feature in its social messenger app to curb the spread of misinformation in India.
This update comes in the wake of Indian government urging WhatsApp and other social media companies improve the security of the app to curb the spread of fake news and spams, which has led to lynching violence in various cities and towns in the country.
WhatsApp messages containing false images and information claiming the presence of child traffickers in the nearby localities have evoked paranoia in parents. Fearing harm to their wards, parents have reportedly beaten several migrant workers. At least 30 people have died in these incidents.
Recently, there was a case of mistaken identity in the Karnataka's coastal city Mangaluru. A Father was taking a stroll with his toddler son, but the child was crying. People in the vicinity mistook him for a child lifter and thrashed him. Fortunately, he was saved by the timely intervention by the local police.
Taking note of the severity of the issue Facebook-owned company assured the Indian government to improve its security. Earlier this week, the company posted a full-page ad on all major regional and national papers in India educating readers and not to fall prey to fake messages and also on how to recognise whether the messages or images or stories they are reading is real or false.
Now, WhatsApp has introduced a 'Forward Message Indicator' feature in the messenger app. If the user receives multimedia content or text message, it tells the user whether it is a forwarded message and this will make them think whether it is worth forwarding.
"Starting today, WhatsApp will indicate which messages you receive have been forwarded to you. This extra context will help make one-on-one and group chats easier to follow. It also helps you determine if your friend or relative wrote the message they sent or if it originally came from someone else. To see this new forwarding label, you need to have the latest supported version of WhatsApp on your phone," WhatsApp spokesperson said in a statement.
It can be noted this feature is also being rolled out in global regions via software update.
If you receive a message and think is false or a spam, you can delete or report it to WhatsApp to take action against the perpetrators.
Here's how you can Report issues to WhatsApp
- On Android: Simply go to WhatsApp > Menu Button > Settings > About and help > Contact Us.
- On iPhone: Simply go to WhatsApp > Settings > About and Help > Contact Us.
- On Windows Phone: Simply go to WhatsApp > more > settings > about > support.
"WhatsApp cares deeply about your safety. We encourage you to think before sharing messages that were forwarded. As a reminder, you can report spam or block a contact in one tap and can always reach out to WhatsApp directly for help. For more information, please visit our WhatsApp Safety Tips page at www.whatsapp.com/safety," the company said.