WhatsApp restricts text forwards to curb rumors

January 22, 2019 09:12
WhatsApp has expanded worldwide a measure put in place in India last July to limit text forwards to five recipients. Photo: Bloomberg

WhatsApp has begun to limit worldwide the number of times a user can forward a message to five as the popular messaging service looks to fight “misinformation and rumors”, Reuters reports.

The limit of five is in expansion of a measure WhatsApp put in place in India in July after the spread of rumors on social media led to killings and lynching attempts, the report noted.

Previously, a WhatsApp user could forward a message to 20 individuals or groups.

“We’re imposing a limit of five messages all over the world as of today,” Victoria Grand, vice president for policy and communications at WhatsApp, was quoted as saying at an event in Jakarta on Monday.

WhatsApp, which has around 1.5 billion users, has been trying to find ways to stop misuse of the app, following global concern that the platform was being used to spread fake news, manipulated photos, videos without context, and audio hoaxes, with no way to monitor their origin or full reach.

The app’s end-to-end encryption allows groups of hundreds of users to exchange texts, photos and video beyond the oversight of independent fact checkers or even the platform itself.

WhatsApp, which is owned by social network giant Facebook, has rolled out an update to activate the new forward limit.

Users of devices running Google’s Android system will receive the update first, followed by users of Apple's iOS.

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