Home Technology Regulation WhatsApp limits users to five message forwards
WhatsApp limits users to five message forwards Pixabay

The Facebook-owned messaging application WhatsApp has started limiting to five the number of times a user can forward a message, with the change coming in on Monday.

Reuters reported that Victoria Grand, the company's vice-president for policy and communications, had told an event in Jakarta that the limit on forwarding would be global.

WhatsApp head of communications, Carl Woog, said that an update would be rolled out to implement the change, first for the Android app and then for the iOS app.

Prior to the change, a limitation on message forwarding meant that one could be forwarded to 20 individuals or groups. Originally, a WhatsApp message could be sent to up to 256 people.

WhatsApp became an issue in the Brazilian presidential election last October with the eventual winner, right-winger Jair Bolsonaro, accused of using the app to spread untruths about his main opponent. Bolsonaro has denied doing so.

The limit of five has been in force in India since last July after a number of lynchings and killings occurred due to messages that were forwarded on the encrypted messaging app.

Five people were lynched in Maharashtra's Dhule district in July 2018, after rumours were spread on WhatsApp that they were child abductors. Twenty-three people were arrested in connection with the killings.

Further, a man was detained for circulating his cousin's photo on WhatsApp and branding him as a child abductor.


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Sam Varghese

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Sam Varghese has been writing for iTWire since 2006, a year after the sitecame into existence. For nearly a decade thereafter, he wrote mostly about free and open source software, based on his own use of this genre of software. Since May 2016, he has been writing across many areas of technology. He has been a journalist for nearly 40 years in India (Indian Express and Deccan Herald), the UAE (Khaleej Times) and Australia (Daily Commercial News (now defunct) and The Age). His personal blog is titled Irregular Expression.


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