With an aim to curb the fake news problem, Facebook-owned WhatsApp now limits text message forwards to five recipients globally. WhatsApp initially launched this feature in India last year. WhatsApp explained in its blog post that it plans to implement the feature globally, for all users with the latest version of WhatsApp installed on their phone.
Prior to this announcement, WhatsApp allowed forwards to 20 chats to 20 recipients globally. Here is what the company had to say in a blog post:
"Starting today, WhatsApp will be implementing this change, globally i.e. all users on the latest versions of WhatsApp can now forward to only five chats at once. The new change will continue to help keep WhatsApp focused on private messaging with close contacts."
In India, WhatsApp is often criticised for its failure to prevent fake and provocative content from spreading on its platform. The Indian government is also taking steps to ensure WhatsApp brings in accountability and facilitate enforcement of the law when it comes to labelling forwards and identifying fake news.
WhatsApp was also asked by the Ministry of Electronics and IT (MeitY) to make sure that their platform is not misused over the increasing cases of mob lynching due to irresponsible messages filled with rumours.
During his visit to India last year, WhatsApp CEO Chris Daniels was told by Union IT Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad to operate in accordance with the Indian laws and take "suitable" actions to counter abuse of WhatsApp in India.
Daniels' meeting India's the IT Minister came after several incidents of mob lynching and their connection with the circulation of fake messages on WhatsApp were reported in the media. Last year in September, WhatsApp appointed Komal Lahiri as the Grievance Officer for India.
WhatsApp has more than 200 million users in India.