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WhatsApp to set forwarding limit on messages to check spread of misinformation

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WhatsApp to set forwarding limit on messages to check spread of misinformation

WhatsApp is testing a new feature to limit the spread of fake news and misinformation on the platform by setting a forwarding limit on all media, videos, photos which are shared on the platform.

In India, said media reports, WhatsApp will test a lower limit of five chats at once, and then remove the quick forward button next to the media file, be it audio, pictures or videos. The global limit on WhatsApp forwards will be 20 chats. The present limit is 250 chats. WhatsApp will also remove the quick forward button from media messages in India, reports said.

After the new restriction, if a media message is forwarded five times from the same account, then WhatsApp will disable the option for forwarding it further.

However, the feature does not appear to be live for all India users yet.

According to WhatsApp, revealed that India is the market where people forward more messages, photos and videos than any other country in the world, reports said. India is the app’s biggest market with over 250 million users.

India is also the market where WhatsApp is facing increasing scrutiny over mob violence and lynching reports after misleading videos went viral on the platform.

The Facebook-owned messaging app in a letter to the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology (MeITY) had written that it was horrified by the reports of violence in the country and announced some initiatives to curb the spread of misinformation and fake news.

In its blogpost regarding this new feature on Forwarding message, WhatsApp notes, “Today, we’re launching a test to limit forwarding that will apply to everyone using WhatsApp. 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 and we’ll remove the quick forward button next to media messages.”

According to WhatsApp, this will ensure that the platform remains a private messaging app, and also stops misinformation from spreading. “We believe that these changes – which we’ll continue to evaluate – will help keep WhatsApp the way it was designed to be: A private messaging app,” it added.

However, people can also copy a text message and then share it again to multiple chats. This way, even the Forwarded label does not appear.

WhatsApp says it will continue to improve the app with new features like this one. According to reports, the app is also testing a new feature to detect suspicious links and warn users before opening them. Another common problem on the messaging app is the spread of messages claiming to offer free vouchers, airline tickets, with fake links being shared.

WhatsApp introduced a new label on 11 July to help users identify whether a message has been written by the sender or simply forwarded. The idea is that people will treat some of these forwarded messages with caution. WhatsApp also took out advertisement campaigns in newspapers in India on steps to fight the spread of fake news.

Earlier this month, WhatsApp in response to a call from the Ministry of Information Technology, said it required a partnership with the government as well as society in general to curb the spread of false information on its platform.

WhatsApp last week published advertisements in key Indian newspapers to tackle the spread of misinformation, its first such effort to combat a flurry of fake messages.

The messaging service had said it was giving users controls and information to help them stay safe, and that it planned to run long-term public safety advertising campaigns.

It also plans to create a system for preventing the spread of fake news and provocative texts in consultation with academic experts and law-enforcement agents, it had said in its earlier statement.

The government warned WhatsApp on Thursday, in its second notice to the US-based messaging service in three weeks, that in the absence of adequate checks it will treat the messaging platform as an “abettor” of rumour propagation.

“When rumours and fake news get propagated by mischief mongers, the medium used for such propagation cannot evade responsibility and accountability. If they remain mute spectators they are liable to be treated as abettors and thereafter face consequent legal action,” the IT ministry said in a statement.

Prior to this, the government had expressed “deep disapproval” about WhatsApp’s inability to prevent the spread of “irresponsible and explosive material”.

According to a Reuters report, WhatsApp is working with seven organisations, which includes the likes of Centre For Social Research, to build and scale an education programme that can address the challenges posed by misinformation and fake news.

Gadgets

WhatsApp to introduce Native File Sharing feature similar to Apple’s AirDrop

Users can choose to be visible to others without disclosing their phone numbers to people who are not their contacts.

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A Meta-owned messaging platform, WhatsApp is all set to introduce a new feature that allows Android users to share files with another user nearby. According to reports, the feature will be developed similar to Apple’s AirDrop.

The file sharing feature nearby is not currently available for beta testers. However, according to a report from WhatsApp feature tracker WABetaInfo, it seems that the feature will soon be introduced. The report reveals a screenshot that shows an option within the app stating, to share files with people nearby, along with a list of nearby users.

It is interesting to note that users can choose to be visible to others without disclosing their phone numbers to people who are not their contacts. In order to share files with other users, one needs to wait for nearby users to accept their request. The process involves a unique interaction, where nearby users can shake their device to receive incoming share requests. It is important to note that this feature is designed with end-to-end encryption to ensure user privacy.

In the upcoming update, WhatsApp is expected to introduce a nearby file-sharing feature. However, the current beta version for Android, which is 2.24.2.20, has addressed a camera issue. Some Android beta testers have reported difficulties in launching the camera within the app after the 2.24.2.13 update. Upon launching, users were presented with an error message that said, can’t start camera, please restart your device. This issue persisted even after restarting the device or relaunching the app.

The latest beta update of WhatsApp, located at 2.24.2.20, has fixed the camera bug. This allows users to launch the camera within the app and share photos and videos with their contacts without any interruptions. As WhatsApp continues its efforts to improve its features and address bugs, users can expect a better messaging experience on the platform.

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Gadgets

Meesho mega blockbuster sale: E-commerce platform to offer 80 percent discount on electronics

The e-commerce platform’s first mega blockbuster sale will sell more than 400 brands directly with the help of authorised partners on its digital store called Meesho Mall.

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Meesho online shopping app

Ahead of the festive season, e-commerce platform Meesho’s mega blockbuster sale is starting on Friday, October 6, 2023. The platform will provide a massive discount of up to 80 percent on different categories such as essentials, accessories, electronics, footwear, etc.

The blockbuster sale is scheduled to conclude on October 13, 2023. Notably, the Softbank backed e-commerce platform is starting its festive sale a day before Flipkart or Amazon’s festive sale goes live.  The e-commerce platform’s first mega blockbuster sale will sell more than 400 brands directly with the help of authorised partners on its digital store called Meesho Mall.

Reportedly, the platform also added over 50 lakh new customers during these sales. More than 75 percent of the demand was received from Tier-II cities, including Amravati, Aurangabad, Dehradun, Nellore, Solapur, and Warangal. The platform further claimed that they have added more than 2 lakh sellers in the past two years.

Recently, Meesho affirmed that  they have received over 10 million (approx) from its pre-festive sales during Onam, Raksha Bandhan, and Ganesh Chaturthi. The platform has more than 14 lakh sellers, selling approx 12 crore products in 30 different categories. 

In an effort to increase the seller base, the company announced the onboarding of non-GST sellers on the platform earlier this week. The GST council announced to permit the e-commerce platform to onboard sellers with turnover of up to Rs 40 lakh.

Prior to Meesho’s Mega Blockbuster Sale, the company introduced a loyalty programme during which eligible users will earn Smart Coins, which the user can redeem every time they make the purchase of any products on the platform. 

As per Redseer, over 140 million shoppers are likely to make purchases during the festive season. This will enhance the Gross Merchandise Value (GMV) of the Indian e-commerce sector by 18 to 20 per cent and may touch Rs 90,000 crore as compared to Rs 76,000 crore last year.

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Phones & gadgets

Apple launches iPhone 15 series, India price, features, availability  

The iPhone 15 series will be available in India from September 22 but iPhone lovers can also pre-order, starting from September 15 onwards.

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Apple launched its most anticipated iPhone 15 series, including the iPhone 15, iPhone 15 Plus, iPhone 15 Pro and iPhone 15 Pro Max during the Wonderlust event globally on September 12 night.

The iPhone 15 series will be available in India from September 22 but iPhone lovers can also pre-order, starting from September 15 onwards.

People can buy a new iPhone 15 or upgrade it to the old one. There are five colours available for the people.  

According to reports, Apple has been manufacturing the iPhone 15 series in India and China. Apple has moved 7% of its iPhone production to India. Previously, India was not making the newest models. The Centre’s production-linked incentive (PLI) scheme for smartphones played a part in Apple moving its production to India.

The new iPhone 15 has been launched with the same starting price as its prototype, the iPhone 14. The 128GB variant is priced at Rs 79,900, while the 256GB variant costs Rs 89,900. For people who need more storage, the 512GB variant is available for Rs 1,09,900.

This latest iPhone series puffs a 6.1-inch display and comes in five different colours which are pink, yellow, green, blue, and black. While the design remains the same as the previous models, the iPhone 15 features a dynamic island notch instead of the usual notch, which was highly popular among the iPhone 14 Pro phones.

The camera part of the iPhone series has undergone significant upgrades, the new iPhone 15, with an enhanced 48-megapixel primary sensor replaces the 12-megapixel dual camera system which was available in the previous iPhone 14. This significant improvement promises better low-light photography and portrait shots.

The tech giant announced that the iPhone 15 has an all-day battery life, making it more convenient for users to go about their daily activities without worrying about their phone’s battery.

The iPhone 15 Pro models feature a lighter body and thinner bezels. The new AirPods Pro with USB-C charging case will support Lossless Audio with Apple Vision Pro.

Additionally, the iPhone 15 is powered by Apple’s A16 bionic processor, an upgrade from the A15 bionic chipset used in the previous iPhone 14 and iPhone 14 Plus models. The Pro models had the faster and better A16 chip, but now this feature is available in all iPhone 15 models.

The USB-C port on the standard iPhone 15 and iPhone 15 Plus remain limited to lightning speeds up to 480 Mbps. The iPhone 15 Pro and iPhone 15 Pro Max support USB 3 speeds up to 10 Gbps. People will need to buy a separate 1-meter Thunderbolt 4 Pro cable for Rs 5,724 or Rs 10,701 for the 1.8-meter cable to support faster speeds.

The dynamic island notch feature, which can adjust its size according to notifications, was widely discussed before the launch of the iPhone 15. This unique feature can now be available in all models of the phone.

Another important feature of the iPhone 15 is the shift to the USB Type C charging port. Apple has abandoned the lightning port in favour of the more commonly used USB Type C charging port. This means, there is no longer a need for a special iPhone charging cable to be carried around everywhere you go.

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