In July 2018, Facebook-owned messaging platform WhatsApp announced that it was bringing to India a new feature limiting the number of messages and media that users can forward to five. The 5-chat limit move aimed to check the spread of misinformation though WhatsApp forwards. The WhatsApp message forward limit is now being extended globally.
WhatsApp announced on Monday it had globally lowered the forward limit for messages to five chats only.
“Starting today, WhatsApp will be implementing this change, globally i.e. all users on the latest versions of WhatsApp can now forward to only five chats at once,” the company said.
The WhatsApp message forward limit for users was earlier up to 20 chats — individual or group.
“The new change will continue to help keep WhatsApp focused on private messaging with close contacts,” added the company.
In its post, WhatsApp said it carefully evaluated the changed feature tested in a India over a six-month period.
“The forward limits significantly reduced forwarded messages around the world,” said a WhatsApp blog post, adding: “We’ll continue to listen to user feedback about their experience, and over time, look for new ways of addressing viral content.”
In 2018, after a spurt in the number of lynching incidences involving WhatsApp forwards, the Government of India had approached the company asking it to take steps to check the spread of fake and provocative content on its platorm. The instant messaging platform then rolled out its feature limiting forward messages to five chats for its over 200 million users in the country.
The Ministry of Electronics and IT (MeitY) had also told WhatsApp to come out with more effective solutions to bring in accountability and facilitate enforcement of law.
WhatsApp had also been told to ensure the platform was not used for malafide activities.
In August, Union IT Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad met WhatsApp CEO Chris Daniels in New Delhi and even asked him to comply with the Indian laws and take “suitable” steps.
In September, WhatsApp appointed Komal Lahiri as the Grievance Officer for India. Lahiri is based out of WhatsApp headquarters in Menlo Park, California, and can be contacted via email and general post.