WhatsApp is to limit the number of times users can forward any single message to five in an attempt to stop false information spreading on the platform. The Facebook-owned messaging platform first introduced the policy in India last year after a string of mob attacks in the country were blamed on fake reports which were said to have spread via the app. “The forward limit suggestively reduced forwarded messages around the world,” a spokeswoman added. WhatsApp first imposed the five-chat limit in India — its biggest global market — in July after viral hoax messages resulted in more than a dozen lynchings. Many of the victims were mistaken as child abductors because of false rumors spread via WhatsApp.
No doubt, WhatsApp is the most widely used messaging app around the world. According to the latest statistics, WhatsApp messenger has now crossed Facebook and has become the most popular Facebook-owned app. Over the period of two years, WhatsApp has grown 30%, compared to just 20 % and 15% growth for Facebook and Facebook Messenger separately. “The forward limit significantly reduced forwarded messages around the world,” the company said in a statement, adding that the limits would help keep WhatsApp a private messaging platform for close contacts. We’ll continue to attend to user feedback about their experience, and over time, look for new methods of addressing viral content.”
“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. The announcement comes as Facebook and other social media services continue to face scrutiny over their policing of false information spread on their platforms. Last week, Facebook revealed it had removed more than 500 pages and accounts it claims were linked to Russia and participating in “inauthentic behaviour” on its services.
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