WhatsApp limits message sharing to Five

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WhatsApp is limiting its users from forwarding single messages no more than five times,  in an attempt to stop the spread of fake news through the messaging platform. The service, which had allowed users to forward messages up to 20 times, announced the new policy in Jakarta, Indonesia where the country is holding its general elections.

A WhatsApp spokesperson said that the new update will curb spread of fake news.

“The forward limit significantly reduced forwarded messages around the world. This will help keep WhatsApp focused on private messaging with close contacts. We’ll continue to listen to user feedback about their experience, and over time, look for new ways of addressing viral content.”

This comes at a time when Facebook and WhatsApp are being investigated over their role in spreading propaganda through these platforms.

WhatsApp has been working to curb the circulation of what technology minister Ravi Shankar Prasad termed “sinister” content in India, the firm’s biggest market where it boasts over 220 million users.

Such misinformation led to the lynching of over 30 people since January 2018, according to data portal IndiaSpend, prompting Prasad to call on WhatsApp to trace its origins. WhatsApp has previously declined to trace the origin of messages, citing security issues.

WhatsApp said,

“We’re horrified by the violence in India, and we’ve announced number of different product changes to help address these issues,”

“It’s a challenge which requires an action by civil society, government and tech companies.”

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