WhatsApp puts limit on messages forwarded by users to fight fake news

WhatsApp puts limit on messages forwarded by users to fight fake news

- Whatsapp has slammed a new policy on the app users restricting message shared on the platform

- The app said with the new rule, users will be blocked from forwarding messages to more than five individuals or groups

- Whatsapp also said the new policy is expedient to stop the spread of fake information globally through the platform

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In its effort to curb the prevailing spread of fake information globally, Whatsapp said it is set to put a strict measure to message shared across the messaging platform by users of the app.

Speaking about the development at an event in Jakarta on Monday, 21 January, the company’s vice-president for policy and communications, Victoria Grand, announced that with the new policy, users will be blocked from forwarding messages to more than five individuals or groups, Guardian (UK) reported.

Briefly.co.za gathers that a larger limit of 20 recipients was put in place globally before it was reduced to five-recipient limit in places like India last July 2018 due to excessive spreading of misleading information.

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Justifying the need for the new policy, WhatsApp said the limits would help keep the app the way it was designed to be: a private messaging app.

Carl Woog, the head of communications at WhatsApp added: “We settled on five because we believe this is a reasonable number to reach close friends while helping prevent abuse.”

It would be recalled that in China, Whatsapp largest market with over 200 million users, more than 30 lynchings happened in a disturbing circumstance that was attributed to spate of incendiary messages spread through the app.

According to reports, the alleged mob killings were not a new phenomenon in India with analysts saying inflammatory rumours through the platform were being spread faster and more widely than in the past.

The incidents have made critics of the app conclude that the Whatsapp message sharing design “strips away the identity of the sender and allows messages to spread virally with little accountability”.

WhatsApp was bought by Facebook in 2014 for a whopping amount $18 billion. And since then, calls have been coming in for the social media platform to restrict broadcasts so that a single user cannot text hundreds of others at once.

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Meanwhile in Nigeria, had previously reported that as the 2019 general elections approach, the Independent National Electoral Commission had stopped its officials from being members of WhatsApp groups.

The electoral body sent a memo to all its 37 resident electoral commissioners, informing them of its decision.

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Source: Briefly.co.za

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