In its attempt to cut down the spread of misinformation, Facebook-owned massaging app Whatsapp has put a limit on users forwarding a message only five times in January this year.
The messaging app thought the restrictions would end abuse and secure its platform from spreading fake news. However, the case seems to be anything but as it intended to be.
Now, digital marketers and political activists have unearthed workaround the restrictions with WhatsApp clones and software tools, which cost about Rs 1000 and allow bypass Whatsapp anti-spam restrictions.
The software tools are easily available and allow a user to send 1 lakh messages a day, as per Reuters report.
With the general election underway, the demand and usage have gone up of such tools. The two main national parties, BJP, and Congress are using it in their political campaigns. Both the parties reportedly used clone apps to bypass WhatsApp restrictions.
WhatsApp, which has about 300 million users in India, is misused by these political parties for forwarding messages on a mass basis through free online clone apps and software tools facilitating the delivery of messages, added the report.
And these tools are being sold online as compact discs without branding.
This is not the first such restriction breach incident involving WhatsApp. On Tuesday, the Financial Times reported that malware could easily access anyone’s phone camera, microphone, messages and log keystrokes making WhatsApp end-to-end encryption useless. The malware can work on most of the operating systems including Apple’s iOS, Android and Micro.
WhatsApp is yet to take any concrete action in this regard. It has, though, said to ban the users of clone apps, by blocking the account associated with a particular mobile number.
Meanwhile, there has been no data available or shared by the messaging app in regard to the impact of message limit per users, on whether it had seen a substantial decline in numbers of misinformation.
The reports of the growing usage of clone apps and software tools will make things difficult for the Facebook-owned app. It surely has a new job, to ensure the safety of its users’ privacy, at hand.
How WhatsApp combats this menace, it remains to be seen.