To Curb Fake News Menace, WhatsApp Restricts Forwarded Messages To Five Chats

The Logical Indian Crew India

January 24th, 2019 / 6:14 PM

WhatsApp Forward Messages

In a move to tackle fake news, Facebook Inc’s WhatsApp has now restricted the number of forwards that can be made. A person can now forward messages to only 5 people worldwide. The feature, which was introduced in India last July to tackle the issue of fake news and rumours, are now been made a global practice.

According to Fortune, the Facebook-owned company in an emailed statement said, “Starting today, all users on the latest versions of WhatsApp can now forward messages to only five chats at once, which 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.”

The move came in as a result of the battle WhatsApp is fighting all over the world as the platform has been repeatedly being used to spread rumours and fake news. The limitation of the ‘forwarded’ messages is in a way the answer to the world over concern for fake news.

According to a report by Deccan Chronicle, WhatsApp will roll out an update to activate the new forward limit, starting on Monday, WhatsApp’s head of communications Carl Woog said. The report also mentioned that it will be the android users who will receive the update first, followed by iOS. 

Previous Incidents

The problem of fake news is not an immediate problem but a chronic one. The limitation of the forward messages was first introduced in India after a lot of speculations.

One devastating incident happened in Bidar, where a mob of about 200 people in one of its interior pockets, beat Mohammad Azam Usmansab, an IT engineer, to death, according to Livemint. The mob lynching had happened after there was a rumour spread on WhatsApp suspecting Usmansab as a child kidnappers.

Another such incident that shocked the nation was the 2018 Athimoor lynching where a 65-year-old woman named Rukamani was lynched in Tiruvannamalai, Tamil Nadu due a WhatsApp rumour that speculated her along with four other were child traffickers, reported The Indian Express.

Following which was another case in Karbi Anglong, Assam where two youths were again mod lynched on the same grounds as Usmansab following a WhatsApp rumour. A chargesheet was later filed against 48 people in the case, reports The Economic Times.

According to The Washington Post, more than a dozen people were killed in the matter of about two months(May-July) in India. 

Also Read: WhatsApp Refuses Centre’s Demand To Disclose Origin Of Message To Curb Fake News, Due To Privacy Concerns


Written by : Akanksha Kashyap (Student, IIJNM)

Edited by : Poorbita Bagchi

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