WhatsApp to Globally Limit Forwarding of Messages to Five Chats

Clay Curtis
January 21, 2019

With an upper limit of 256 people per group, that puts the theoretical maximum number of people who can b reached by forwarding to five groups at 1,280 people - down from the 5,120 individuals that 20 forwards could have reached previously.

The company, which says it has roughly a billion users daily, says it hopes the move will help "WhatsApp [focus] on private messaging with close contacts".

WhatsApp said at the timethe limits would "help keep WhatsApp the way it was created to be: a private messaging app".

"WhatsApp had introduced limits on message forwarding in July previous year starting with India, following a series of mob-lynching incidents in the country triggered by rumors and fake messages on the platform".

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WhatsApp, which was bought by Facebook in 2014, wants to use the limit as part of its global plan to fight "misinformation and rumours". The quick forward button next to media messages will also be removed worldwide. "The forward limit significantly reduced forwarded messages around the world", a spokeswoman added. Critics say the design "strips away the identity of the sender and allows messages to spread virally with little accountability".

Aiming to curb fake news, Facebook-owned platform WhatsApp on Monday announced it has globally lowered to five the forward limit for chats - a feature first launched in India last July.

In one of its notices, the Ministry of Electronics and IT (MeitY) said WhatsApp has been requested to come out with more effective solutions that can bring in accountability and facilitate enforcement of law in addition to their efforts towards labelling forwards and identifying fake news.

WhatsApp did not reply to a request for comment.

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