• WhatsApp has pledged to develop tools to combat fake news.
  • Fake messages have led to a series of mob beatings across the country this year.
  • India is WhatsApp’s biggest market with more than 200-million users.
  • WhatsApp has so far limited message forwards to five chats at time, and intends to remove the quick forward button placed next to media messages.

India has asked Facebook-owned WhatsApp to develop tools that would combat fake messages, which are having deadly consequences in that country. 

The country is currently cracking down on people whipping up public anger through mass message.

WhatsApp CEO Chris Daniels gave the assurance to India’s IT minister during a meeting in New Delhi. Ravi Shankar Prasad had asked the company to work out ways to trace the origin of "sinister" messages, like those that led to a series of mob beatings across the country this year.

WhatsApp-gebruikers kan vanaf 15 November video-oproepe maak soos wat die nuutste weergawe van die sagteware beskikbaar word.Foto: Bloomberg

"It does not need rocket science to locate a message," Prasad said after his meeting, adding that the US tech giant had agreed to name a grievance officer to deal with issues in India, reported Reuters.

India is WhatsApp’s biggest market with more than 200-million users. More messages, photographs and videos are forwarded than in any other country.

There are also concerns that supporters of political parties could use social media platforms such as WhatsApp to spread false messages in the run-up to India’s national elections in 2019.

In July, WhatsApp said forwarded messages will be limited to five chats at a time, whether among individuals or groups, and said it will remove the quick forward button placed next to media messages.

Prasad also said WhatsApp was working with law-enforcement agencies to tackle the problem and was planning a big campaign to educate consumers about fake messages.

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