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WhatsApp limits text forwards to five recipients

JAKARTA: WhatsApp messenger service is globally limiting the number of times a user can forward a message to five, in a bid to fight “misinformation and rumors”, company executives said on Monday.

“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 on Monday at an event in the Indonesian capital.

Previously, a WhatsApp user could forward a message to 20 individuals or groups. The five-recipient limit expands globally a measure WhatsApp put into place in India in July after the spread of rumors led to several killings there.

Related: When a WhatsApp text can trigger a lynching

Indian tech ministry officials met with senior WhatsApp executives last year to ask the Facebook unit to start tracing the origins of misinformation spread through its messaging platform.

WhatsApp, however, maintained that building traceability into its messaging service would undermine its private nature and end-to-end encryption, creating the potential for misuse. It has also said it will not weaken the privacy protection it provides.

The firm has since launched print, radio and television advertising campaigns to educate users on the dangers of misinformation. It is also conducted roadshows in partnership with a mobile phone network provider.

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