On Monday, WhatsApp read out the riot call on Fake News and rumor mongers. Going forward, you (an every WhatsApp user out there) can only forward a message to just five contacts, and not more than that.
This move by Facebook Inc. the parent company of the popular messaging service WhatsApp was taken to stop the spread of “misinformation and rumors.”
“We’re imposing a limit of five messages all over the world as of today,” said Victoria Grand, the VP for Policy and Communication at WhatsApp while address press at the Indonesian capital.
Previously, the cap was at 20. Meaning a user could forward a message to 20 individuals or WhatsApp groups.
It all began in India
As you might already know, India is a big market for the popular messaging service. However, in July 2018, the app was used as a tool for spreading rumors leading to killings and lynching attempts.
WhatsApp first rolled out the five contacts limit for forwarding messages in India, and on Monday availed it to all users around the world.
1.5 Billion Users worldwide
The app enjoys about 1.5 billion users around the globe and has been facing criticism for being a tool for spreading fake news and rumor mongering. People have been sharing manipulated photos, videos without context, and hoax audios, but with little to no way of monitoring the origin of these ‘forward.’
End-to-End Encryption coming back to bite
WhatsApp made its chat platform end-to-end encrypted, and since then, it has become a haven for fraudulent activities. Where people with sinister intents come to share videos, audios, photos, and texts that are not truthful and think they can get away without any repercussions. To prevent fake news and rumors from going viral, WhatsApp hopes a cap on five contacts forward will deny it (spreading of fake news) the lifeline it needs to go viral.