November 13, 2019

WhatsApp imposes new limits on forwarding to fight fake news


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By Laura Byager From Mashable


WhatsApp is imposing new limits to the number of times you can forward messages and content on the platform.  

The Facebook-owned messaging service has been imposing restrictions on its sharing functions since several instances of deadly mob violence in Indiawere linked to fake news articles shared widely on the platform. 

Since July 2018, forwarded content and messages have carried a label, and the number of people you can forward content to has been restricted. WhatsApp users in (there are about 200 million of those) have only been able to share content with five users or groups, while users elsewhere could forward content in up to 20 different chats. But now, WhatsApp is restricting the sharing function to five shares for all users world wide. 

If you do the math on that, this newly imposed limit means that any one user can spread a piece of content to a maximum of 1280 people, as there can be up to 256 people in a group, and you can share with up to five groups.  

“We’re imposing a limit of five messages all over the world as of today,” , vice president for policy and communications at WhatsApp, said at an event in Jakarta, per ReutersSpeaking to the BBC, a WhatsApp spokesperson added that “the forward limit significantly reduced forwarded messages around the world.”

“[This] will help keep WhatsApp focused on private messaging with close contacts,” the spokesperson told the .  

After WhatsApp came under scrutiny following the violent incidents in India, the company did not only restrict sharing, they also hired an official grievance officer and offered researchers grants of up to $50,000 to study the scope of fake news on the platform. 

WhatsApp has 1.5 billion users world wide and saw a great influx of new users last year, as people turned away from Facebook in favour of the encrypted messaging service. 

Mashable has reached out to WhatsApp for comment. 

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