Popular messaging platform WhatsApp has put a limit to the number of times a message can be forwarded, in an effort to curb the spread of fake news and also boost privacy.
Users will now only be allowed message forwards to only five chats at once, which according to whatsApp, will also help users focus on private messaging with close contacts.
WhatsApp, which is owned by Facebook, had first only enforced the limit to message forwarding in India in July 2018 following threats of a shutdown by the government after forwarded messages shared on the platform went viral, leading to the mob killings of more than 20 people , who had been accused of child kidnappings.
According to whatsApp, the decision to effect the forward limit came after a six month review, which showed that it significantly reduced forwarded messages across the world. In early 2018, WhatsApp said it had more than 1.5 billion users, who exchanged 65 billion messages per day.
“We’ll continue to listen to user feedback about their experience and over time look for new ways of addressing viral content,” WhatsApp said in a statement.
Social media has contributed greatly to the spread of fake news, which is touted to be one of the greatest threats to democracy.