Facebook-owned WhatsApp has officially rolled out the new app update which will allow forwarded messages to be sent to only five chats. Globally, the limit of forwarding messages will be upto 20 chats.
According to news agency IANS, WhatsApp confirmed that it has begun rolling out its forward message limit in India, which is its biggest market at 200 million users.
“The limit has started to appear this week for people in India who are on the current version of WhatsApp,” the company said in a statement on Wednesday.
“This week, WhatsApp is publishing a new video that explains the importance of the ‘forward’ label and calls users to ‘double check the facts when you’re not sure who created the original message,’” said the company.
“We are deeply committed to your safety and privacy which is why WhatsApp is end-to-end encrypted, and we’ll continue to improve our app with features like this one,” it said in an earlier statement.
Earlier, in a letter to the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology (MeITY), Whatsapp stated that it was horrified by the reports of violence in the country and announced new steps to curb the spread of misinformation. This comes after reports of fake news of kidnapped and missing children being circulated in the app lead to mob violence and lynching reports across the country.
Regarding the novel feature, it said in a blogpost, “Today, we’re launching a test to limit forwarding that will apply to everyone using WhatsApp. In India – where people forward more messages, photos, and videos than any other country in the world – we’ll also test a lower limit of 5 chats at once and we’ll remove the quick forward button next to media messages.”
It says that it will ensure stopping of misinformation and its credibility as a private messaging app, simultaneously. However, it has been noted that the forwarded message can be copied and shared again to multiple chats. With that, the forwarded label does not appear.
The app added that new features would continue to be rolled out to curb violence. Reports claim that WhatsApp is also testing a new feature to detect suspicious links and warn users before opening them. A common problem is seen of spread of messages claiming to offer free vouchers, airline tickets, with fake links being shared.