Facebook's WhatsApp limits users to five text forwards to curb rumors

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In the latest case of social media privacy and security limitations, Facebook-owned messaging app WhatsApp has announced it will restrict the number of times an individual message can be forwarded.

"We're imposing a limit of five messages all over the world as of today", WhatsApp's Vice President for Policy and Communications Victoria Grand said at an event held in Jakarta.

This new update is now rolling out to WhatsApp users worldwide.

WhatsApp said the results of its six-month test in India had shown that forwarding reduced significantly as a result of the restriction.

The decision is likely to have been informed by an unfortunate incident in India in July 2019 where the spread of rumors and fake information on social media led to killings and lynching attempts.

WhatsApp has introduced new measures to curb the spread of fake news by reducing the number of times that users can forward messages on the platform.

'[This] will help keep WhatsApp focused on private messaging with close contacts, ' a company spokesperson told BBC.

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WhatsApp's initial cap on message forwarding comes after several killings in India past year occurred as a result of false information being circulated on the social media network.

The WhatsApp app logo is seen on a smartphone.

Android users will be the first to receive the update, and it will arrive shortly afterwards on iPhone.

One official "rumour buster" was himself beaten to death in the north-east in June.

Facebook and WhatsApp have come under pressure to cut down on fake news and to stop rumours spreading quickly.

Last week, Facebook announced that it had removed 500 pages and accounts allegedly involved in peddling false reports in Central and Eastern European countries, including Ukraine.

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