WhatsApp to restrict message sharing in the fight against fake news
WhatsApp is to limit the number of times users can forward any single message to five in an attempt to stop false information spreading on the platform.
The Facebook-owned messaging platform first introduced the policy in India last year after a string of mob attacks in the country were blamed on fake reports which were said to have spread via the app.
Now it is to be rolled out to all WhatsApp users globally, the company confirmed, where previously messages could be forwarded up to 20 times.
WhatsApp said it was introducing the feature after a six-month test in India.
“WhatsApp carefully evaluated this test and listened to user feedback over a six-month period. The forward limit significantly reduced forwarded messages around the world,” a spokesperson for the messaging platform said.
“Starting today, all users on the latest versions of WhatsApp can now forward 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 announcement comes as Facebook and other social media services continue to face scrutiny over their policing of false information spread on their platforms.
Last week, Facebook revealed it had removed more than 500 pages and accounts it claims were linked to Russia and participating in “inauthentic behaviour” on its services.