Do you send way too many messages on WhatsApp? We have some news for you that may not be too good. The Facebook-owned instant messaging app has said that it will be taking legal action against users who send too many messages. While the company could simply ban the users from its platform from going against its terms and conditions, it has decided to take legal action because it will be another step in its efforts of cracking down on fake news.
If we club the move by WhatsApp to take legal action with the findings of a recent Reuters Institute survey of English-language Indian internet users, it becomes way more crucial than it seems at first. Around 52% of the respondents of the survey got news via WhatsApp.
The same people also said that they got their news from Facebook. However, we should mention that in India, content shared on the instant messaging app has also led to violence and murder. It is also worth pointing out that the problem is so grave that BBC, in its April 2019 article, called WhatsApp the ‘black hole’ of fake news during India’s election.
To recall, last year, WhatsApp had introduced a ‘Forward’ tag for such messages. The company did this after it received flak when unverified forward messages were linked to fake news that led to the killing of over 20 people in mob violence.
The app, which has over 1.5 billion active users, has updated its FAQ section. So, according to the new guidelines, it will be able to take legal actions against any user for “bulk or automated messaging”. This will let WhatsApp control how users interact on their platform.
The update can be seen on WhatsApp’s page on “bulk or automated messaging”. The page now says that the app is “committed to reinforcing the private nature of our platform and keeping users safe from abuse.” The company has also said that it will leave no stone unturned when it comes to ensuring that its terms and conditions are being followed.
The page says, “Beginning on December 7 2019, WhatsApp will take legal action against those we determine are engaged in or assisting others in the abuse that violates our terms of service, such as automated or bulk messaging.” Along with this, the company has also issued a warning that it will start legal proceedings even if they are based on “information solely available to us off our platform.”
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