On Tuesday, Facebook-owned WhatsApp introduced group calling feature for both voice and video- supporting upto four people at once on iOS and Android devices.
“You can make a group call with up to four people total — anytime and anywhere. Just start a one-on-one voice or video call and tap the new “add participant” button in the top right corner to add more contacts to the call,” WhatsApp said in a statement.
“Group calls are always end-to-end encrypted, and we’ve designed calling to work reliably around the world in different network conditions,” WhatsApp added.
Earlier, in a bid to counter fake news which had been circulating through the app, WhatsApp enforced a forwarding limit on all messages, videos, photos which were shared, to upto 5 chats. The quick forward button next to the media (audio, pictures, videos) messages was also removed.
This means that it will disable the option for forwarding the message if a media message is forwarded five times from the same account. In its blog post, the messaging app said that India is the market where people forward more messages, photos and videos than any other country in the world. Consequently, the app has over 250 million users.
In a letter to the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology (MeITY), Whatsapp stated that it was horrified by the reports of violence in the country and announced new steps to curb the spread of misinformation. This comes after reports of fake news of kidnapped and missing children being circulated in the app lead to mob violence and lynching reports across the country.
Regarding the novel feature, it said in a blogpost, “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.”
It says that it will ensure stopping of misinformation and its credibility as a private messaging app, simultaneously. However, it has been noted that the forwarded message can be copied and shared again to multiple chats. With that, the forwarded label does not appear.
The app added that new features would continue to be rolled out to curb violence. Reports claim that WhatsApp is also testing a new feature to detect suspicious links and warn users before opening them. A common problem is seen of spread of messages claiming to offer free vouchers, airline tickets, with fake links being shared.