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In mid-2018, WhatsApp was under tremendous pressure from the Indian government over the spread of fakes news, which were causing widespread panic about child lifters leading to the lynching of innocent migrant workers and travellers. To curb the circulation, it imposed the limit on the number of forwards, a user can share to just five persons.

WhatsApp also ran several ads on print, radio and TV to spread awareness of fake news circulations and also methods to flag misinformation. During the study, WhatsApp found that the circulation of forwarded messages in India has come down drastically.

A WhatsApp logo is seen behind a phone
[Representational Image] WhatsApp has announced to limit forward to five chats on mobile phones. In Picture: A WhatsApp logo is seen behind a phone that is logged on to Facebook in the central Bosnian town of Zenica.REUTERS/Dado Ruvic/File Photo

Going by recent reports, the plan has worked well for the Facebook-owned company, as the number lynching cases across the country have seen marked decreased.

Having learnt lessons in India, WhatsApp now has announced to limit the forward messages to only five chats at once. Also, all forwarded message will come with tag-'Forwarded' in the top left corner. Over time, the company plans to remove the quick forward button next to media messages.

WhatsApp, forward, limit, global regions.
Now every forwarded message will carry a tag- 'Forwarded' in the top left corner.WhatsApp Press Kit (screen-shot)

"WhatsApp carefully evaluated this test and listened to user feedback over a six-month period. The forward limit significantly reduced forwarded messages around the world. Starting today, all users on the latest versions of WhatsApp can now forward to only five chats at once, which will help keep WhatsApp focused on private messaging with close contacts. We'll continue to listen to user feedback about their experience, and over time, look for new ways of addressing viral content," WhatsApp spokesperson said.

Here's How You Can Flag Rumour Messages To WhatsApp:

  • On Android: Simply go to WhatsApp > Menu Button > Settings > About and help > Contact Us.
  • On iPhone: Simply go to WhatsApp > Settings > About and Help > Contact Us.
  • On Windows Phone: Simply go to WhatsApp > more > settings > about > support.

In a related development, WhatsApp is also planning to bring more security feature to view messages on the app. The company has begun testing biometric validation such as fingerprint for Android phones to access the WhatsApp chat session.

WhatsApp is likely to roll out the feature to the public in coming weeks and hopefully, it is working on a similar option for Apple iPhones and also FaceID authentication for iPhone X and later versions to secure the WhatsApp.