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WhatsApp to Limit Message Forwarding in India to Curb Fake News WhatsApp will now limit the number of people users can forward messages to 5 chats in India

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FACEBOOK-owned WhatsApp has announced a series of updates to tackle the spread of fake news on the messaging platform.

WhatsApp to Limit Message Forwarding in India to Curb Fake NewsThe messaging service will limit the number of people users can forward messages to. In India, the limit is set at 5 chats.

Posted by Otus on Friday, 20 July 2018

The announcement on a blog post comes in the backdrop of a series of mob lynchings in India in which more than 30 people have been killed in the last one year across many states due to fake news circulating on WhatsApp.

To fight this, WhatsApp will now limit the numbers of people users can forward messages to. In India, the limit is set at 5 chats.

And the “quick forward” feature has been removed in India. Globally, users will be able to forward messages to 20 people. Earlier, the limit was 250 people.

“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 statement said.

The move comes after intense backlash and severe pressure brought upon the platform by various government’s – including India’s – to check the spread of rumors and fake news which lead to violence and even death.

WhatsApp has over 200 million active users in India and considered its largest market.

Earlier this month, WhatsApp had released full-page ads in India’s leading newspapers putting forward its stand and the steps it has taken to fight fake news. This was in response to India’s information technology ministry asking WhatsApp to act quickly and sensitively.

It had also announced the introduction of a feature to label forwards, telling users that the message had been forwarded ‘as received’ by the sender.

The company’s senior executives have also met the Election Commission in India as part of its efforts to prevent the misuse of the platform in the 2019 elections.

WhatsApp has said that it will develop ways to monitor spam messages in the runup to the elections especially 48hrs before polling begins. It will also introduce a fake news verification model similar to what it had for the Mexican general elections.

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