Home Technology WhatsApp is limiting the number forwarded messages to stop the spread of “misinformation and rumors”

WhatsApp is limiting the number forwarded messages to stop the spread of “misinformation and rumors”

1 min read

I’ve recently been forced to block a family member on WhatsApp, because they keep sending me forward hoaxes, fearmongering nonsense and straight up fake news despite my protestations. Because people are averse to fact checking and happily spread misinformation like herpes, platforms like WhatsApp have become vectors for the propagation of bullshit.

It’s especially problematic in places like India, where misinformation spread through WhatsApp has been implicated in violence and even deaths following mob justice. The Facebook-owned service has been rightly criticised for not taking enough steps to limit the rumours, fake news and lies that are disseminated through it. While it’s not feasible for there to be any sort of oversight thanks to the service’s end-to-end encryption, the company will try to limit its role by placing a limit on text forwarding.

WhatsApp’s vice president for policy and communications Victoria Grand said at an event in Indonesia that WhatsApp will limit the number of recipients a user can forward a text message to, to just five users. While that won’t prevent the most ardent of mass forwarders, it does mean that it takes a more concerted effort to spread nonsense – and with people being intrinsically lazy, the hope is that the new limit will eventually stop people from forwarding so much guff.

The limit is already in place in India, and will soon roll out to all users through a new update.

Last Updated: January 22, 2019


  1. R1ker

    January 22, 2019 at 13:10

    I am on our neighborhood whatts app group that has obviously more than just 5 users. Wish there is a way the can stop people from spreading stupid fake news articles on there as well.


    • HvR

      January 22, 2019 at 13:16

      Good set of NHW Whatsapp group etiquette rules and couple of admins that are quick on the banhammer


      • R1ker

        January 22, 2019 at 13:54

        The admins keep on reprimanding people for this but some of these guys just don’t listen. Luckily there is one admin that give you 1 warning. Next time its babaai


        • HvR

          January 22, 2019 at 15:28

          We give one warning, sometimes an polite explanation or link to why it is BS and why we have the rules.

          After that you are gone.

          Was hectic for the first month or so since we have 10 groups to monitor, but after banning number 4 or 5 people got the message.


  2. Gr8_Balls_o_Fire

    January 22, 2019 at 14:58

    thanks to the service’s end-to-end encryption”

    Sorry there’s absolutely no encryption.

    Here’s how to test it out:

    1: Think of a topic you’ve never spoken about to anyone ever under any circumstances. eg. if you’re of Religion A, think of the prospect of going to a Religion B place of worship.

    2: Whatsapp just one person, who you haven’t chatted to in a very long time. Mention point no.1.

    3: Pay attention to your Facebook feed for the next week.


    • HvR

      January 22, 2019 at 18:48

      For interest sake are you using an IPhone?


      • Gr8_Balls_o_Fire

        February 1, 2019 at 08:47

        Nope.. Samsung.. Does the phone matter?


  3. Admiral Chief

    January 22, 2019 at 12:40

    [proceeds to send Geoff even more things on WhatsApp]


  4. RinceThis

    January 22, 2019 at 12:46

    People are so dumb. We are doomed as a species. Let the roaches take over us, and the sooner the better.


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