New WhatsApp text limits aimed to slow ‘fake news’

Facebook’s WhatsApp messenger service is globally limiting the number of times a user can forward a message to five, in a bid to fight “misinformation and rumors”, company executives said. Jillian Kitchener reports.

In an effort to curb the spread of rumors, WhatsApp users will only be able to forward a message to just five people or chats at once.

Previously, a message could be forwarded to 20 individuals or groups.

Facebook’s WhatsApp announced the global change, Monday, as a means to fight – quote ‘misinformation and rumors.’

The five-recipient limit expands a measure the company put into place in India in July after the spread of rumors on social media sparked deadly riots and lynch mobs.

The app has around 1.5 billion users, and has been trying to find ways to tackle the spread of fake news, manipulated photos, videos without context, and audio hoaxes – AND to monitor their origin and reach.

WhatsApp was scrutinized ahead of last year’s Brazilian election, when political messages – some portraying Leftist Fernando Haddad as a communist – spread rapidly to millions of users.

Parent company Facebook came under fire recently for its lax approach to fake news reports and disinformation campaigns — allegedly by Russia-based operatives — in an effort to sow division and sway the 2016 U.S. presidential election.

WhatsApp will roll out an update, starting Monday, putting a curb on how many times a message can be shared.

Associated Links

  • Facebook
  • Social media
  • Software
  • World Wide Web
  • Computing
  • WhatsApp
  • Facebook
  • Kitchener, Ontario
  • Misinformation

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