WhatsApp is implementing a change in how users forward messages – a change that was introduced in India six months ago. WhatsApp is imposing a limit on its members to forwarding any single message up to five times in an effort to combat the spread of fake information on the platform.
The Facebook-owned business introduced the measure last year in India following a number of mob lynchings that were blamed on fake reports spread via the service.
Until now, users elsewhere could forward messages up to 20 times.
The update to the app's rules was announced at an event in Jakarta, Indonesia, according to the BBC. "The forward limit significantly reduced forwarded messages around the world," a company spokeswoman added.
"[This] will help keep WhatsApp focused on private messaging with close contacts. We'll continue to listen to user feedback about their experience, and over time, look for new ways of addressing viral content."Up to 256 users can be enrolled in a WhatsApp group.
So, theoretically, a single user can now only forward a message up to 1,280 other individuals rather than the 5,120 people figure that had been possible previously.
There is nothing, however, to stop those on the receiving end each forwarding the message up to five times themselves.
The restriction comes at a time WhatsApp and Facebook's other services are under scrutiny for their role in the spread of propaganda and other untruths online.