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A legal notice received to WhatsApp for middle finger emoji

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New Delhi , Dec 26, 2017: An advocate on Tuesday sent a legal notice to mobile messaging app WhatsApp, asking it to remove the “middle finger” emoji within 15 days.

Gurmeet Singh, who practices as a lawyer in city courts here, said showing the middle finger is not only illegal but an obscene and lewd gesture — an offence in India.

In the notice, the advocate said: “…showing of middle finder is not only offensive but a highly belligerent, invasive, obscene, lewd gesture.”

“As per the Indian Penal Code Sections 354 and 509, it is an offence to show obscene, lewd, offensive gestures to females. Use of a lewd, offensive, obscene gesture by anyone is hereby illegal also as aforesaid. As per section 6 of the Criminal Justice (Public Order) Act, 1994 showing of the middle finger is also an offence in Ireland,” Mr Singh stated in his notice.

“By offering to use middle finger emoji in your app, you (WhatsApp Inc) are directly abetting the use of offensive, lewd, obscene gesture,” the notice said. Emoji is a small digital image or icon used to express an idea or emotion.

Therefore, it is requested that the middle finger emoji or character or photo must be removed from WhatsApp within 15 days from the date of the present legal notice, it said, threatening to file civil or criminal cases if the app fails to remove it. (IANS)

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WhatsApp Announces 5-chat Message Forwarding Limit Globally

Based out of WhatsApp's headquarters in Menlo Park, California, Lahiri can be contacted via email and general post

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"WhatsApp Business" was launched last week in Indonesia, Italy, Mexico, Britain and the US. Pixabay

Aiming to curb fake news, Facebook-owned platform WhatsApp on Monday announced it has globally lowered to five the forward limit for chats — a feature first launched in India last July.

“Starting today, WhatsApp will be implementing this change, globally i.e. all users on the latest versions of WhatsApp can now forward to only five chats at once,” the Facebook-owned platform said in a blog post.

Earlier, the company allowed users globally to forward messages for up to 20 chats (either individuals or groups).

“The new change will continue to help keep WhatsApp focused on private messaging with close contacts,” it added.

With the Indian government talking tough on WhatsApp’s failure to check the spread of fake and provocative content on its platorm, the instant messaging service last year rolled out its forward message limit to five chats for over 200 million users in the country.

In one of its notices, the Ministry of Electronics and IT (MeitY) said WhatsApp has been requested to come out with more effective solutions that can bring in accountability and facilitate enforcement of law in addition to their efforts towards labelling forwards and identifying fake news.

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WhatsApp on a smartphone device. Pixabay

The IT Ministry had also asked WhatsApp to ensure that the platform is not used for malafide activities over the growing instances of lynching of innocent people owing to large number of irresponsible messages filled with rumours.

In August, Union IT Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad told the visiting WhatsApp CEO Chris Daniels to comply with the Indian laws and take “suitable” steps to prevent misuse of the instant messaging platform in the country.

Daniels’ meeting with the IT Minister came against the backdrop of several incidents of mob lynching being linked to the circulation of fake messages and misinformation on the instant messaging platform.

Also Read- Social Media Giants Facebook, Twitter Face Action From Russia Over Legal Violations

After being pulled up by the Supreme Court for not appointing a Grievance Officer and complying with other laws of India, WhatsApp in September appointed Komal Lahiri as the Grievance Officer for the country.

Based out of WhatsApp’s headquarters in Menlo Park, California, Lahiri can be contacted via email and general post. (IANS)