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ADMINS OF GROUPS BEWARE “DON’T FORWARD ‘AS RECEIVED’ IN”WHATSAPP” & TELEGRAM MESSAGES BLINDLY “YOU COULD BE SUED”

 
 
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ADMINS OF GROUPS BEWARE “DON’T FORWARD ‘AS RECEIVED’ IN”WHATSAPP” & TELEGRAM MESSAGES BLINDLY “YOU COULD BE SUED”
by System Administrator - Saturday, 25 August 2018, 11:19 PM
 

By: M.S.Yatnatti: Editor and Video Journalist Bengaluru: "WhatsApp cares deeply about your safety.”The app reaffirming its commitment to users' safety comes in the wake of growing instances of lynching and violence spurred by provocative messages circulated widely on it.The new feature will label forwarded messages to distinguish them from one-on-one communications. In the wake of rampant misuse of its platform for circulation of provocative, and often fake content, the Facebook-owned texting app has come under fire from the government and public alike. But, is the new 'forwarded' feature a step forward?. WhatsApp will indicate which messages you receive have been forwarded to you,” the app announced on Tuesday in a blog titled 'Labelling Forwarded Messages'. It describes two benefits of the new feature: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.Never forward 'as received' messages whose veracity you aren't sure of;Reportedly Lynch-mobs debase humanity. The reasons for their actions in the recent past have been varied: Suspicion of cow smuggling, thieving, and child trafficking. However, a common thread found in many cases has been the circulation of rumours and fake news that appeal to people's fears and bigotry on messaging platforms, especially WhatsApp. While according to reports rumours leading to lynchings and even riots are not new to India, their frequency is alarming. Digital technologies afford us greater ability to communicate and to exercise our freedom of expression more fully than ever before. They also allow the spread of rumours in greater numbers, over greater distances and with greater impunity. While child abduction rumours on WhatsApp resulted in a lynching in 2015 too, the past month has seen such rumours spread all over South India, resulting in dozens of lynchings. The difference? Increased use of the internet. How can this menace be tackled? First, we have to accept personal responsibility: Never forward 'as received' messages whose veracity you aren't sure of; chastise those who do. This is also backed by the law: the IPC, under provisions like Sections 505 and 153A, allows for prosecution of certain categories of harmful rumours and falsehoods.Second, WhatsApp's moderation-less design encourages rumour mongering. WhatsApp implicitly discourages moderation of content in groups (eg., it only has 'administrators', not 'moderators'), unlike, say, Facebook.