There’s false information running around the internet lately, and WhatsApp wants to limit the number of users that you can share messages with.
Why is this happening?
An experiment has been done in India, where WhatsApp announced on Monday that it would soon restrict users from all around the world to forward a message to only five chats at a time. In India, the previous number for that was 20. WhatsApp already obeyed this rule in India after some viral hoax messages resulted in about 15 lynchings. Many people were mistaken as child abductors after the false rumor was spread by using WhatsApp.
The messages can still get spread easily
The company said that they would continue to listen to the feedback they receive, and, in time, will find new ways to address viral content. However, even with this new rule, someone can still send a forwarded message to about 1280 people, because WhatsApp set the limit of the number of people in a single chat to 256.
This entire accident has put WhatsApp at the center of India’s fake news debate, and the Indian government demanded the platform to do something about it and prevent this from happening again. The company has refused some of the requests on the government, like tracing individual messages, but it has worked on the problem, by labeling messages that are forwarded. They also took out ads to raise awareness of the issue.
India alone has more than 500 million internet users, and about 900 million people are about to come online, too. You can imagine those numbers if we’re to talk about the rest of the world.
The biggest firms from Silicon Valley, Amazon, Google, Tinder and Uber, and even Facebook are testing now some new features in India, before releasing them for the entire world.
Tim M. Hill helped bring Digital-Overload from a weekly newsletter to a full-fledged news site by creating a new website and branding. He continues to assist in keeping the site responsive and well organized for the readers. As a writer to Digital-Overload, Tim mainly covers mobile news and gadgets.