Published: Mon, January 21, 2019
Global News | By Blake Casey

WhatsApp expands message forwarding limit worldwide to contain spread of fake news

WhatsApp expands message forwarding limit worldwide to contain spread of fake news

"We believe that these changes - which we'll continue to evaluate - will help keep WhatsApp the way it was created to be: a private messaging app" the company said in a statement.

WhatsApp users will be blocked from forwarding messages to more than five individuals or groups under new rules the messaging service is rolling out worldwide to fight the spread of misinformation. The policy of forwarding messages to a maximum of five recipients had been implemented in India last summer after the spreading of rumours on social media led to killings and attempted lynchings.

WhatsApp is expanding its message forwarding limit to across the world, almost six months after piloting the feature in India.

"Starting today, all users on the latest versions of WhatsApp can now forward to only five chats at once, which will help keep WhatsApp focused on private messaging with close contacts", read an excerpt of the release.

The move comes at a time when governments and regulators across the world are looking at effective ways to curb the spread of fake messages through digital platforms.

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India is WhatsApp's biggest market, with about 200 million of its 1.5 billion users.

Under pressure to stop rumours and fake news, WhatsApp had past year, restricted forwarding messages to five chats at once as well as removed the quick forward button for media messages in India - a market that has over 200 million WhatsApp users.

Facebook recently announced that it had removed hundreds of Facebook pages and accounts on Instagram that were being used to spread fake news.

Meant to bring that "feeling of intimacy" back to WhatsApp users, the revisions were initially billed as a work in progress, with "tests" underway in July 2018 targeting India first and foremost.

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