WhatsApp limits users to five text forwards to fight rumors, fake news

Facebook's WhatsApp messaging service is setting a global limit on the number of times a user can forward a message to five as the company battles the proliferation of misinformation and rumors.

WhatsApp users were previously allowed to forward a message to 20 individuals or groups. The new limit that was rolled out on Monday expands a change the company put into place in India in July in the wake of at least 20 killings or lynching attempts that were tied to rumors spread on WhatsApp.

“We’re imposing a limit of five messages all over the world as of today,” Victoria Grand, vice president for policy and communications at WhatsApp, said at an event in Indonesia's capital, reports Reuters.

GOOGLE'S CENSORED CHINESE SEARCH ENGINE PROTESTED BY HUMAN RIGHTS ACTIVISTS IN TEN COUNTRIES

WhatsApp, which has about 1.5 billion users and provides end-to-end encryption for all messages, is trying to stem the tide of misinformation -- in the form of altered videos, fake news and manipulated photographs -- amid worldwide concern that misuse of the service is leading to real-world violence.

According to Reuters, WhatsApp became embroiled in controversy during Brazil's presidential election in October, after far-right candidate Jair Bolsonaro was accused of using the messaging service to spread lies about his main opponent. Bolsonaro, who won the election, denied those charges.