Brazil urges WhatsApp to delay launch of “Community” until elections are held
LONDON: Brazilian authorities have urged the WhatsApp platform to delay the launch of its latest “Community” feature until elections are held in October.
The new feature allows users to send messages and communicate to 2,560 people simultaneously.
According to Sao Paulo prosecutors the feature will encourage the spread of fake news during the election, Anadolu Agency reported citing Globo sources.
“In recent years, there has been an increase in the spread or flow of misinformation about Brazil’s democratic institutions, especially about the voting system used in the country,” according to the prosecutor.
The Poder360 website reported: “with the potential for more users to share content quickly, prosecutors fear it could increase the flow of misinformation, call into question the institutions and integrity of Brazil’s voting system and put the country’s democratic stability at risk.”
The WhatsApp application is popular among supporters of President Jair Bolsonaro who have used the platform to mobilize campaigns and deliver messages.
Bolsonaro is campaigning for re-election in October, although polls show him lagging behind former President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva and experts have labeled the election the most “polarised” in decades.
In April, WhatsApp had delayed the launch of the new feature until after the second round which was expected at the end of October.
The platform said it is still researching the right time to launch the new feature.
In Brazil, about 99 percent of smartphones use the messaging platform, according to authorities.
source – BERNAMA