Previously users of the messaging app, which last year attained 1.5 billion monthly users, could forward any single message to up to 20 other individuals or groups. The new change applies to all users.
WhatsApp’s vice president for policy and communications Victoria Grand announced the change at an event in Jakarta on Monday, saying it will be rolled out worldwide, Reuters reports.
WhatsApp has already trialled the five-forward limit in India since July 2018, following a series of lynchings which were sparked by users mass-forwarding each other false information to each other.
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The messaging app has also come under fire for its role in spreading political propaganda and misinformation. This drew particular attention in the run-up to the Brazilian presidential election last year. A BBC investigation found that political campaigners had scraped people’s Facebook data to target them with messages on WhatsApp.