WhatsApp has started blocking or disabling chats for mobile phone numbers which have been flagged by the Election Commission of India (ECI) for circulating election-related fake news or objectionable election. The first WhatsApp number was deactivated before voting on April 11. WhatsApp said it will block or disable its chat service on phone numbers provided the ECI shares screenshots of the objectionable content or fake news with it.
In another step to check the spread of fake news, WhatsApp on Wednesday allowed users to decide whether they want to join any group. A new privacy setting option has been activated which will help users decide who can add them to groups. To enable the feature, users can go to ‘settings’ option in WhatsApp and select one of three options — “nobody”, “my contacts”, or “everyone”. If they choose “nobody”, users will have to approve every invite for joining a group. Upon choosing “my contacts” option, users from the person’s address book will be able to add them to groups.
People in India can now submit suspicious information or messages they have received to a new WhatsApp number +91-9643-000-888. The helpline has been launched by PROTO, an India-based media skilling startup. When a user shares a suspicious message with the tipline, PROTO’s verification center will seek to respond and inform the user if the claim made in the message shared is verified or not. The response will indicate if the information is classified as true, false, misleading, disputed or out of scope.
Physical shares of listed companies will become illiquid and non-transferrable if not dematerialized till March 31. After March 31, listed companies' physical shares will need to be 'dematerialized' to be sold or transferred. SEBI had previously extended the deadline of December 5, 2018, to March 31, 2019, for transfer of listed shares in physical form. As on December 31, 2018, almost 4% of the total numbers of shares of the 30 Sensex companies were still held in the physical form, which translates to about 418 crore shares in non-demat form.
With Lok Sabha elections round the corner, Facebook-owned WhatsApp has turned out to be the biggest social media platform for more than 87,000 groups to target millions with political messaging. One WhatsApp Group can have a maximum of 256 users so these 87,000 groups can reach over 2.2 crore people directly. According February 2017 data, WhatsApp has over 20 crore Monthly Active Users (MAUs) are using its platform in India. India today has nearly 43 crore smartphone users, according to Hong Kong-based Counterpoint Research.