NEW DELHI — According to Indian media reports WhatsApp announced on July 19, 2018, that it is planning to limit message and photo forwarding in “India” which would include Indian-held Jammu and Kashmir.
Although Whatsapp did not mention the areas of curb neither it named the kinds of messages to be affected by this new bar on freedom of social media, New Delhi had asked Facebook and Whatsapp to curtail its services of the message and photos forwarding particularly in the Indian occupied Jammu and Kashmir. Hundreds of Facebook pages of Kashmiri youths have been taken off making it difficult for affected Kashmiris remain in touch on social media.
Kashmiri social media activists have been using Facebook and Whatsapp to sharing news and images of killings and tortures of Kashmiri civilians at the hands of Indian forces. With new restriction they not be able to share information and photos anymore.
According to Indian media reports the U.S. company said in a blogpost Thursday evening in the United States that it is launching a test to limit forwarding on WhatsApp in India, where people forward more messages and videos than anywhere else in the world.
The controls include a plan to limit the number of chats that users can send forward to five in India and removing the “quick forward” button next to media messages.
Before demanding a ban on Whatsapp message and photo sharing India’s hardline Hindu fundamentalists spread several fake news and shared photos that caused unrest in many small towns and villages.
Also on Thursday (July 19), India’s Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology had warned WhatApp to come up with more effective solutions to stop the spread of message and photos that it believes can “incite” mob violence – or face legal action.
Kashmiri youths who have been badly beaten or tortured by Indian occupation forces in Jammu and Kashmir had often used Facebook and Whatsapp to share messages and photos.
According to reports Whatsapp officials from the Menlo Park, California-based company were already in India this past week to meet with digital literacy organisations and civil society leaders to discuss the spate of violence that has prompted calls for it to do more to control the spread of viral content on the app, used by 225 million people in India, according to the Indian government.
The company, owned by Facebook, said this week that it had studied the way that WhatsApp was used by a particular Indian political party – which it did not name – in a recent state election in Karnataka, saying that campaign operatives formed dozens of WhatsApp groups, added telephone numbers and used those groups to send thousands of politically oriented spam messages.
Spokesmen for the two major national political parties – the governing Bharatiya Janata Party and the main opposition Indian National Congress – denied manipulating the app before demanding a ban on social media in Jammu and Kashmir.