Although WhatsApp recently limited forwards on the app, Ministry of Electronic and IT Secretary Ajay Kumar Sawhney on Monday noted that this alone would not be enough to tackle the growing problem of circulation of fake or speculative news.
“It (WhatsApp) has become a publishing medium, so there should be rules made for it, as publishing is from one to many. Some steps have been taken, some more measures are all also needed,” Sawhney told reporters.
Meanwhile, cyber expert Pawan Duggal said that although WhatsApp’s move is welcome, it would not have a substantial impact.
“WhatsApp has taken a great step, but it would make a great impact as it does not guarantee that people won’t cut and paste and forward the messages further. Moreover, they have to deal with the main problem, that such content should not feature on the application and if it does, it should be removed immediately,” Duggal told ANI.
The cyber expert further suggested that WhatsApp must appoint a grievance officer in India for quick and effective resolution, as messages spread like wildfire on WhatsApp.
He also advised that WhatsApp should follow the provisions, rules, and regulations of the information technology laws of the country.
Last week, WhatsApp had announced the launch of a pilot program to limit forwarding on the messaging app in India.
In a statement, Whatsapp said, “In India – where people forward more messages, photos, and videos than any other country in the world – we will also test a lower limit of 5 chats at once and we’ll remove the quick forward button next to media messages.”
This came after the Indian government mounted pressure on social media sites and messaging apps to regulate norms accordingly to handle the menace of rumours and fake news on its platform.