Big WhatsApp update will change how you forward messages

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New Delhi | Updated: December 17, 2018 2:02 PM

WhatsApp users will not be able to forward messages to more than 5 people at once after this new policy is rolled out worldwide

WhatsApp has reportedly begun rolling out this update to everyone (Source: Reuters)

WhatsApp has been the conduit for fake news in India for a long time, much less being a hideout for people with nefarious intent to spark outrage among the masses to a level that has resulted into communal wars, lynchings, and mob killings in the country. The menace of fake news is something the Facebook-owned company believes is its top priority, owing to which top officials including Chris Daniels have made a visit to India. One feature that’s mostly associated with the spread of fake news is WhatsApp’s ‘forward’ feature that allows users to forward texts, images, videos, and more to other contacts in bulk. WhatsApp is now globally limiting the number of contacts that a user can choose to forward messages.

Initially rolled out in India recently, WhatsApp’s message forward limit is now coming to the rest of the world, according to WABetaInfo. The watchdog sent out a tweet on Saturday saying that WhatsApp users in the countries outside India will too be bound to send ‘forwards’ to just 5 people at once. It reads – “NEWS: Forward message limit: 20 – 5 in all countries (before it was only in India).” The forward message limit was rolled out in India due to the highly-sensitive atmosphere arisen due to several mob lynchings, vicious assaults, and even killing in public. Two similar cases were also reported in Mexico.

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The WhatsApp users will not be able to forward messages to more than 5 people at once after this new policy is rolled out worldwide. In order to send a message to over 5 contacts, the users will need to make several turns of 5 people each. The forward limit also includes group chat, which means you cannot exceed the limit of 5 irrespective of individual chats or group chats. However, WhatsApp has not officially said anything on its plan to expand this feature to other countries. It also not clear exactly when this policy will be implemented for the users globally.

Read | WhatsApp releases new update for Windows Phone to support private reply feature

IT Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad asked WhatsApp to take stringent measures to control the spread of fake news on the chat app, which has over 200 million users in India as per the last data revealed by Facebook. The government even instructed the company to comply with the regulations that require WhatsApp to grant access to the government to trace a user’s activity on the app. While this demand was made in a good taste, WhatsApp is reluctant on developing such a feature that will ultimately hamper the end-to-end encryption and users’ right to privacy.

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