Picture: Reuters

CAPE TOWN - WhatsApp announced in a blog post that it is introducing limits to the number of contacts and groups WhatsApp messages may be forwarded to.

“We built WhatsApp as a private messaging app – a simple, secure, and reliable way to communicate with friends and family,” said the company.

“As we’ve added new features, we’ve been careful to try and keep that feeling of intimacy, which people say they love.”

In India, where mob lynchings were triggered by mass-forwarded false messages, Facebook is testing a lower limit of five chats at once, and is removing the “quick forward” button next to media messages.

People forward more messages, photos, and videos in India than any other country in the world, said WhatsApp.

This limit change comes after Reuters reported that false messages about child abductors on WhatsApp have triggered mass beatings of over a dozen people in India this year.

“We believe that these changes – which we’ll continue to evaluate  will help keep WhatsApp the way it was designed to be: a private messaging app.”

Earlier this month, WhatsApp announced that it will be labeling forwarded messages.

“WhatsApp cares deeply about your safety,” the company said in a blog post. “We encourage you to think before sharing messages that were forwarded.”

The “forwarded” label will apply to all text, image, audio, and video messages forwarded to users.

This new label feature was added in line with the social platform stopping the spread of misinformation and spam and to help users determine whether a message was actually written by a contact.

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