With about 1.5 billion users and 65 billion messages exchanged per day, Facebook-owned WhatsApp has been the choice mode of communication for most mobile phone users. However, one lingering issue the app has faced over the years is the spread of fake news and false information by users. And because of its large user base, it’s quite easy for false information to go viral and possibly put people, organisations and public personalities in danger.
In a bid to combat the spread of hoaxes and unverified content, WhatsApp will now allow you forward messages to 5 other users only. Previously, the app allowed message forwarding to 20 individuals or groups. But now, the number has been reduced to just 5 users.
Last year, WhatsApp began marking forwarded messages as ‘Forwarded’ to let you know the message didn’t originate from the sender. Henceforth, the company advises that such messages should be read properly and verified on trusted news sites before forwarding to more users in order to reduce the spread of false information. Additionally, the quick forward button placed next to the media messages will also be removed.
The company decided to roll out this feature worldwide after a six-month review of user feedback. WhatsApp hopes that this action would help militate against the spread of fake news, manipulated photos, videos without context, and audio hoaxes on its chat platform.
The update with new forward limits should be available to Android users and would reach iOS users in the coming days.