2018/09/30/: Facebook previously attracted the attention of the Indian government in 2016, when it was criticized for offering a free internet service that connected to only a limited number of websites (including Facebook). Called Free Basics, the program was shot down by the Indian government because it violated net neutrality.
Attention has since turned to WhatsApp, which Facebook purchased in 2014.
WhatsApp has introduced at least four new features over the past month that are designed to combat the mass messaging of rumors that have fueled mob violence and killings in India, the service's largest market with over 200 million users.
According to WhatsApp's website, its latest test feature "automatically performs checks to determine if a link is suspicious" and advises users to exercise caution when receiving and opening links.
WhatsApp previously started labeling messages to indicate they've been forwarded rather than composed by the sender. It's also testing limits on how many chats (individuals or groups) a message can be forwarded to simultaneously — 20 for the rest of the world, five for India.
Newspaper ads, which contain tips like "check information that seems unbelievable" and "be thoughtful about what you share," began appearing in national and regional newspapers across nine Indian states earlier this month.
Sparked by rumors of child abduction, mob killings have continued. The most recent took place two weeks ago, after some of WhatsApp's new features were rolled out.