Aug 9, 2018

WhatsApp limiting message forwards to five users is good news for India

irculation of fake news and information on WhatsApp lead to several incidents of lynching in some parts of the country. Soon after these incidents occurred, the Indian government asked the Facebook-owned instant messaging platform to take actions for curbing the spread of fake and provocative content on its platform. WhatsApp acknowledged the problem and has now come up with a solution for it. WhatsApp has limited the users for forwarding messages to just five from twenty. With the new update, WhatsApp believes that this initiative will help check the spread of fake news and misinformation on its platform.

This means, unlike earlier, you will no longer be able to forward a message to more than five people at once. The feature has already started rolling out and will come to all -- over 200 million -- WhatsApp users in India. "The limit has started to appear this week for people in India who are on the current version of WhatsApp," the Facebook-owned messaging platform announced on Wednesday. So, to get the feature reflected on your WhatsApp you'll need to update the app to the latest version.

The forward message limit to five users is said to be only for the Indian users. Globally, WhatsApp allows users to forward messages to up to 20 chats. WhatsApp has also informed that users in India forward more messages, photos, and videos than any other country in the world.

In addition to the new update, WhatsApp has also posted a new video with the aim to educate its users on how to spot fake news and hoaxes. This, according to the instant messaging app will also help spread of fake and misinformed news.

"This week, WhatsApp is publishing a new video that explains the importance of the 'forward' label and calls users to 'double check the facts when you're not sure who created the original message,'" WhatsApp noted.

On rolling out these new changes to the platform, WhatsApp said, "We are deeply committed to your safety and privacy which is why WhatsApp is end-to-end encrypted, and we'll continue to improve our app with features like this one."

Earlier this week, as reports claim, the Department of Telecommunications (DoT) had asked telecom operators to find measures to block WhatsApp, Facebook, Telegram and Instagram in case of misuse and threat to national security and public order. In response, the Cellular Operators Association of India (COAI), however, said that the Indian government should find out "more effective" measures steps to curb fake news, instead of blocking social media apps.

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