WhatsApp has today confirmed that it will be restricting forwards to just five chats, a limit that now applies globally and not just for the Indian market.
The Facebook-owned messaging app has restricted forwards to just twenty chats globally back in July 2018, though the limit for India was lower at five chats. WhatsApp will now apply this five chats limits to all its global users.
In an official statement WhatsApp that they have taken this decision after evaluating this test and based on user feedback over a six-month period. According to WhatsApp, the new “forward limit significantly reduced forwarded messages around the world.”
WhatsApp says the limit is being extended globally to address the issue of content going viral on the platform.
The update from WhatsApp says, “Starting today, all users on the latest versions of WhatsApp can now forward to only five chats at once, which will help keep WhatsApp focused on private messaging with close contacts. We’ll continue to listen to user feedback about their experience, and over time, look for new ways of addressing viral content.”
In simple terms, anyone who is using the latest version of WhatsApp will now find their forwarding options limited to just five chats. In India, WhatsApp had applied this limit to curb the growing of use of the app to forward fake news and false messages, some of which it had resulted in mob violence and lynchings in the country.
WhatsApp had earlier said that India was where people forwarded more messages, photos and videos than any other country in the world.
India is also the biggest market for WhatsApp, with close to 250 million active users. The company had also announced a forwarded label feature for all such messages last year.
The idea was to alert users that the message they were reading was a forward, and not necessarily something that had been composed by their friend or contact who had forwarded the message.
WhatsApp has also been hosting digital literacy workshops in India and even launched advertisement campaigns in India against the spread of misinformation and fake news on the platform.