Alert! WhatsApp limits message forwarding to five chats only

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Under unrelenting pressure from the Indian government to effectively handle the menace of rumours and fake news on its platform, WhatsApp has limited the use of forwarded messages to up to five chats only in a bid to curb the spread of misinformation and fake news in India.

“Today, we’re launching a test to limit forwarding on WhatsApp. In India — where people forward more messages, photos, and videos, than any other country in the world — we’ll also test a lower limit of 5 chats at once and we’ll remove the quick forward button next to media messages,” the company said in an email on Friday morning.

“Today, we’re launching a test to limit forwarding that will apply to everyone using WhatsApp. In India – where people forward more messages, photos, and videos than any other country in the world – we’ll also test a lower limit of 5 chats at once and we’ll remove the quick forward button next to media messages,” said a WhatsApp blog.

We believe that these changes – which we’ll continue to evaluate – will help keep WhatsApp the way it was designed to be: a private messaging app,” it added.

“We’ll remove the quick forward button next to media messages,” the company said in an email on Friday morning.

“We believe that these changes – which we’ll continue to evaluate – will help keep WhatsApp the way it was designed to be: A private messaging app,” it added.

It also plans to create a system for preventing the spread of fake news and provocative texts, it had said in its earlier statement.

“When rumours and fake news get propagated by mischief mongers, the medium used for such propagation cannot evade responsibility and accountability. If they remain mute spectators they are liable to be treated as abettors and thereafter face consequent legal action,” the IT ministry said in a statement.

Prior to this, the government had expressed “deep disapproval” about WhatsApp’s inability to prevent the spread of “irresponsible and explosive material”.

Taking note of the recent incident in Karnakata’s Bidar, where a 32-year-old software engineer was killed after messages about child lifters did the rounds on WhatsApp, the ministry rued that “rampant circulation of irresponsible messages in large volumes” on the platform have not been addressed adequately by the company.

“It is regretted that the enormity of the challenge and the rampant abuse happening in the country leading to the repeated commissioning of crimes pursuant to the rampant circulation of irresponsible messages in large volumes on their platform have not been addressed adequately by WhatsApp,” it said.

-PTC News