Whatsapp To Limiting Forwarded Text Messages In Bid To Tackle Fake News


Whatsapp, a messaging service that is owned by Facebook, has said that it will roll out some limits on the number of times that a a user can forward the same message on its platform. The announcement comes as an attempt to fight the spread of global “misinformation and rumours.”

Victoria Grand, the vice president for policy and communications of Whatsapp, said that the app would impose a limit of five messages on the users. It is down from its previous limit of sending messages to 20 individuals or groups.

The measure has been tested in India since July last year. It comes after the spreading of rumours on its instant messaging app and other social media platforms resulted in the widespread reports of killings and lynching attempts

Whatsapp has been seeking to look for a way to fight fake news on its platform while protecting its end-to-end encryption guarantee, which hinders fact-checkers and the company itself from monitoring communications between its 1.5 billion users.

The new limit will be fulfilled through an update to its app, with Android users set to receive the update first before those who are using Apple devices.

The move was announced by Grand during a conference that was held in Indonesia, a country which is set to hold a general election in three months time.

Facebook, the parent company of Whatsapp, has been ramping up its efforts to fight fake news in the past weeks, including the removal of more than 500 pages that are linked to disinformation campaigns across central Europe.

Earlier this month, Facebook launched its fact-checking service in the United Kingdom. It worked with Full Fact, a charity, to review and rate the accuracy of posts on its site.

The tech giant has been subject to intense examination by politicians and regulators after it was revealed that advertisements on its site had become a means for distributing fake news and other propaganda during the 2016 Brexit referendum and the presidential elections in the United States.