Written by Tom Jennings
The use of WhatsApp to orchestrate mob killings in India has been a stark wake up call for the messaging app that their service can be utilised not just for fake news, but for organised crime too.
200 million Indians use WhatsApp and combined send more than 13 billion messages every day, making India the biggest market for WhatsApp.
The violence has been blamed on rumours of child kidnappings, spread over WhatsApp, which have led people to attack strangers.
With at least 17 people across India having been killed, WhatsApp has now limited the amount of times a message can be forwarded, to five.
WhatsApp is also planning to run public safety ad campaigns in India.
We believe WhatsApp could go further; with all messages sent treated as private, which means that people will no longer have the ability to copy & paste or forward messages anonymously.
Anything that is then forwarded is no longer encrypted and could generate a message ID that could then be tracked.
But equally if WhatsApp were to empower its users, the community could be given the ability (and responsibility) to flag objectionable content themselves, thus helping to stem the spread of fake news.