Tech: WhatsApp limits text forwarding to five recipients/groups to curb rumours and fake news

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The global messenger service app, WhatsApp has limited the number of times a user can forward a message five times. This is in a bid to fight misinformation and spread of fake news.

According to a statement released by the company on Monday, January 21, the five-recipients policy is now a global measure after it was implemented in India after July after the spread of rumours on social media led to killings and lynching attempts.

“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.

Currently, WhatsApp has around 1.5 billion users on using the app to send messages. Policymakers and other stakeholders are concern about reducing the misuse of the platform in spreading fake news, manipulated photos, videos without context, and audio hoaxes.

The app has end-to-end encryption which allows groups of hundreds of users to exchange texts, photos and video beyond the purview of independent fact checkers or even the platform itself. More so, there is no way to monitor their origin or full reach.

WhatsApp will roll out an update to activate the new forward limit which starts today and Android users will receive the update first, followed by users of Apple’s iOS (AAPL.O).


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