Sunday February 17, 2019
Home India Government Pr...

Government Pressure: WhatsApp to Limit Message Forwarding In INDIA

WhatsApp reacted: "In India, where people forward more messages, photos, and videos than any other country in the world, we'll also test a lower limit of 5 chats at once.

0
//
The app is adding more features to group chats. Wikimedia commons

 Hauled up second time by the government on its failure to check the spread of fake and provocative content on its platform amid growing lynching episodes, Whatsapp on Friday said it is launching a test to limit message forwarding to five chats that will apply to its users in India.

In its second notice on Thursday, the Ministry of Electronics and IT (MeitY) took a tough stand, asking WhatsApp 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.

“It has been conveyed to them in unmistakable terms that it is a very serious issue which deserves a more sensitive response,” MeitY said in the notice.

WhatsApp reacted: “In India, where people forward more messages, photos, and videos than any other country in the world, we’ll also test a lower limit of 5 chats at once.

“We will also remove the quick forward button next to media messages,” WhatsApp said in a statement.

The test, once comes to practice, will curtail WhatsApp’s services for over 200 million users in India. Globally, the company allows users to forward messages for up to 20 chats (either individuals or groups).

WhatsApp said that with new changes, which it will continue to evaluate, “will help keep WhatsApp the way it was designed to be: a private messaging app”.

“We are deeply committed to your safety and privacy which is why WhatsApp is end-to-end encrypted, and we’ll continue to improve our app with features like this one,” it added.

Whatsapp
“We will also remove the quick forward button next to media messages,” WhatsApp said in a statement. Pixabay

In its first reply to the IT Ministry, WhatsApp said the company is “horrified” by terrible acts of violence.

The IT Ministry had 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 being circulated on its platform.

The mobile messiging service listed several measures — including labelling Forwarding messages — in its first reply to control the spread of misinformation and abuse on its platform but failed to meet the requirements from the IT Ministry.

Several people have lost their lives in the past one year by lynch mobs after rumours of child lifting triggered via messages on WhatsApp.

Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh for the first time admitted in the Lok Sabha on Thursday that fake news on social media has resulted in many mob lynching incidents in the country, saying the government has asked service providers to put a check on rumour mongering on social media.

Also Read-WhatsApp Begins Rolling Out ‘Restrict Group’ Feature For Admins

Expressing concern over the misuse of social media, Rajya Sabha Chairman M. Venkaiah Naidu also asked the government to evolve a national policy after discussing with all stakeholders including political parties to combat the menace.

The Supreme Court also issued 22 guidelines this week for the central and state governments to put an end to “horrendous acts” of vigilantism, lynching and mobocracy and directed them to work in tandem to take “preventive, remedial and punitive measures”. (IANS)

Next Story

Musk-founded AI Group Not to Release Software on ‘Fake News’ Fears

OpenAI said governments should consider expanding or commencing initiatives to more systematically monitor the societal impact and diffusion of AI technologies

0
Tesla CEO Elon musk, board
Tesla CEO Elon Musk. (VOA)

Elon Musk-founded non-profit Artificial Intelligence (AI) research group OpenAI has decided not to reveal its new AI software in detail, fearing the AI-based model can be misused by bad actors in creating real-looking fake news.

Dubbed as “GPT2”, the AI-based automated text generator can produce fake news articles and abusive posts after being fed with a few pieces of data.

“We’ve trained a large-scale unsupervised language model which generates coherent paragraphs of text and performs rudimentary reading comprehension, machine translation, question answering and summarization – “all without task-specific training,” OpenAI said in a blog post late on Thursday.

Trained on a data set of eight million web pages, “GPT2” can adapt to the style and the content of the text you feed it.

OpenAI said the AI model is so good and the risk of malicious use is so high that it is not releasing the full research to the public.

However, the non-profit has created a smaller model that lets researchers experiment with the algorithm to see what kind of text it can generate and what other sorts of tasks it can perform.

Elon Musk, CEO of SpaceX. Wikimedia Commons

“We can imagine the application of these models for malicious purposes, including the following: Generate misleading news articles, impersonate others online, automate the production of abusive or faked content to post on social media and automate the production of spam/phishing content,” said OpenAI.

Today, malicious actors – some of which are political in nature – have already begun to target the shared online commons, using things like “robotic tools, fake accounts and dedicated teams to troll individuals with hateful commentary or smears that make them afraid to speak, or difficult to be heard or believed”.

OpenAI further said that we should consider how research into the generation of synthetic images, videos, audio and text may further combine to unlock new as-yet-unanticipated capabilities for these bad actors.

Also Read- Adults With Obstructive Sleep At Greater Risk Of Cardiovascular Diseases

Musk, who is the staunch critic of AI and co-founded OpenAI in 2016, stepped down from its board in 2018.

OpenAI said governments should consider expanding or commencing initiatives to more systematically monitor the societal impact and diffusion of AI technologies. (IANS)