Social media giant WhatsApp has moved to combat the spread of fake news on its platform by announcing that it is now limiting how widely users can share messages after a successful six month trial in India.
The company was forced to impose a five chat limit in the country in July 2018 after a wave of lynchings occasioned by spread of false information via the platform in which the victims were accused of being child abductors making them walking targets.
Consequently, on Monday the company owned by Facebook announced that it is imposing a five chat limit down from the previous 20 in all countries except India saying the move will go a long way in reducing forwarded messages around the world.
“We’ll continue to listen to user feedback about their experience, and over time, look for new ways of addressing viral content. The limits will help keep WhatsApp a private messaging platform for close contacts,” said the company.
With the new restrictions, users could still share a forwarded message with up to 1,280 people. WhatsApp limits the number of people in a single chat to 256.
The lynchings put WhatsApp on the spot with the government demanding that the company do more to stop the spread of false information.
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WhatsApp has also introduced a new feature which will label forwarded messages to help users differentiate them from original ones.