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WhatsApp puts limits on message forwarding to curb rumours

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Facebook Inc’ s WhatsApp is limiting worldwide the number of times a user can forward a message to five , starting on Monday , the popular messaging service looks to fight “ misinformation and rumours ” , company executives said on Monday .
Previously , a WhatsApp user could forward a message to 20 individuals or groups .

The limit of five is an expansion of a measure WhatsApp put in place in India in July after the spread of rumours on social media led to killings and lynching attempts .

“ We ’ re imposing a limit of five messages all over the world as of today , ” Victoria Grand , Vice President for Policy and Communications at WhatsApp , said at an event in the Indonesian capital.

WhatsApp , which has around 1 . 5 billion users, has been trying to find ways to stop misuse of the app .
This followed global concern that the platform was being used to spread fake news , manipulated photos, videos without context , and audio hoaxes, with no way to monitor their origin or full reach .

The messaging service became part of the political battleground in Brazil ’ s presidential election on October 2019 , with far – right candidate Jair Bolsonaro facing claims of using the app to spread falsehoods related to his main opponent .

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Bolsonaro , who ended up coasting to victory , has denied the charges .

The messaging app was also used to mobilise support for massive truckers strike in Brazil during May 2018 .

The truckers strike blocked the country’ s main roadways for about 10 days and hampered everything from fuel deliveries to gas stations to shipments of commodities at ports .

The app ’ s end – to – end encryption allows groups of hundreds of users to exchange texts , photos and video beyond the oversight of independent fact checkers or even the platform itself .

WhatsApp will roll out an update to activate the new forward limit , starting on Monday , WhatsApp ’ s head of communications Carl Woog said .

Users of devices running Google ’ s Android system will receive the update first , followed by users of Apple Inc’ s ( AAPL . O ) iOS .

( Reuters / NAN )

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