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WhatsApp restricts forwarded messages to 5 recipients

In a bid to fight “misinformation and rumors”, WhatsApp has announced that it will now restrict users to fowarding messages to only 5 people, from the previous threshold of 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, said at an event in the Indonesian capital last Monday.

The move was triggered by a situation in India where forwarded messages spread rumours that led to people being killed.
“Over the past two years, at least two dozen people in India have been killed in violent mobs incited by rumors on WhatsApp, the global messaging service with 1.5 billion users.” – Washington Post

With 1.5 billion users, WhatsApp is under pressure to make sure its platform is being used appropriately, despite being encrypted and them not being able to monitor the kind of content being forwarded which may contain fake news in form of videos and images and edited audio too.

‘WhatsApp carefully evaluated this test and listened to user feedback over a six-month period. The forward limit significantly reduced forwarded messages around the world. 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. We’ll continue to listen to user feedback about their experience, and over time, look for new ways of addressing viral content.” – WhatsApp

The new update started rolling out last Monday (21st January 2019) and the update will be received by Android users first, and then iOS users after.

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