FACEBOOK-OWNED WhatsApp will ban users from forwarding message more than five times in a bid to fight the spread of hoaxes and fake news.
The measure was first announced in India back in July following a series of violent incidents credited to the spread of false information.
An incident saw one man killed and two others severely beaten after rumours of their efforts to abduct children spread on WhatsApp, and reports claim 17 other Indian citizens had died under similar circumstances, with police saying false rumours and doctored videos had spread via the messaging app.
WhatsApp also introduced 'Suspicious Link Indicator' a feature that labelled messages which are not original and have been forwarded.
At the time, users elsewhere could forward messages up to 20 times - down from the previous limit of 250, but WhatsApp has now rolled out the limit globally in a bid to "help keep WhatsApp the way it was designed to be: a private messaging app".
"WhatsApp carefully evaluated this test and listened to user feedback over a six-month period. The forward limit significantly reduced forwarded messages around the world," WhatsApp said on Monday.
"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."
Android users will receive the update that includes the stricter message forwarding rules, followed by users of iOS. µ
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