Because it could be used to transmit false information, the Ministrio Pblico Federal (MPF) has ordered asked (Opens in a new window) WhatsApp to delay the debut of its Communities feature in Brazil until 2023.
On October 2, Brazil will have its general election, which will choose the country’s next President, Vice President, Speaker of the National Congress, and other political leaders. Therefore, it is crucial for the Brazilian government to stop the transmission of false and misleading information throughout the nation.
Communities are useful in this situation. In April, WhatsApp unveiled a feature that enables businesses to gather many group discussions into one location. The film was meant to premiere this year, but MPF wants to delay its release in Brazil until January of 2019.
Communities “may come up against effective procedures that the platform itself has deployed in recent years to restrict the dissemination of fake news,” according to the government. (Theirs, not mine.) The potential for administrators to communicate every member of a Community, according to MPF, is something that worries it most.
According to MPF (from the Portuguese translation):
According to the recommendation, when Communities are deployed, their administrators will be able to send messages to up to 2,560 persons at once, which will represent a tenfold increase over the existing platform restriction for first message sendings. Additionally, these initial contributions will increase even more, expanding to accommodate up to 5,120 people at once, if the maximum size of each group truly doubles. This would make it easier for content to spread on WhatsApp, which can have a detrimental impact on your existing strategy for battling false information.
A request for comment from WhatsApp did not immediately receive a response.
According to MPF, WhatsApp has 20 working days to decide whether or not to accept the recommendation. If it rejects, the MPF may file a lawsuit to have the suggested actions enforced.
Disinformation experts warn that the US “Playbook” is being used internationally.
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Reuters reports (Opens in a new window) said that the business said it “would continue to carefully examine the optimal moment to deploy the new platform and will promptly reply to the authorities’ request.” However, that doesn’t necessarily mean that it will postpone the Brazilian launch of Communities any longer.
You may access more details regarding MPF’s request on the official recommendation (Opens in a new window) .
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