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WhatsApp Is Making Changes To Fight Fake News

Facing increasing concern about the misuse of its platform, messaging program WhatsApp is taking a stand.

From Monday, users worldwide will be blocked from forwarding messages to more than five people or groups, in a bid to fight misinformation and rumours that can be spread widely to many users like spam emails.

Previously, users could forward messages to up to 20 recipients at a time but that figure is about to be quartered after a six-month test in India.

The change was prompted by a series of mob attacks and killings in India, which were set off by the quick spread of false information about child kidnappings through the app.

(Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)

India isn't the only country that's been caught up, the app's message-forwarding service has been blamed for spreading fake news around the world.

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Three researchers claimed 44 percent of Brazilian voters were getting their information from the messaging app, and that much of it wasn't credible. They also called on WhatsApp to restrict forwards.

WhatsApp is the worlds most popular messaging app with roughly 1.5 billion users. It allows encrypted texts, photos, and videos to be sent on a one-to-one basis.

(Photo by Jaap Arriens/NurPhoto via Getty Images)

While the update will limit forwarded messages to a measly five, they can still get forwarded to groups, which can have as many as 256 people.

That means the carefully curated rumours could still hit the inbox of nearly 1300 people at a time.