How forwarding works on WhatsApp

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You can find here information about the limits and end-to-end encryption for forwarded messages.
Discover the details below!


Common questions Answers
Topic about? Forwarding messages
Article for? WhatsApp for Android and iOS
Previous news? WhatsApp beta for Android what’s new?

You can forward messages on WhatsApp, but this isn’t the news. Do you really know how it works and that there are some limits?
It was possible to forward a message with up to twenty chats at one time a long time ago. In order to limit fake news, WhatsApp decided to set a new limit in India, where people spread fake news quickly and more. After a few months, WhatsApp has rolled out the same changes worldwide.

When the same message is forwarded 5 times, it means it’s frequently forwarded. WhatsApp identifies frequently forwarded messages with a double arrow icon. These messages can be forwarded to 1 chat at a time.

How does WhatsApp know that a message is forwarded or frequently forwarded if it’s encrypted using end-to-end encryption? It’s simple: you don’t see that but a message contains a hidden flag that keeps track of how many times it has been forwarded. This flag doesn’t keep track of who was the previous sender or the creator (so there is no traceability), but it’s like a counter that’s increased every time you forward the message to another chat.
Note that:

  • It was possible to see the value of the forwarding counter in the message info, but WhatsApp has removed this feature some time ago.
  • Even if the message is frequently forwarded, it is not a confirmation that it’s real: you have to pay more attention if the message is frequently forwarded because it might contain wrong information that went viral.
  • When a text message is frequently forwarded, you can quickly search it on the web to verify if it’s real, tapping the search shortcut on WhatsApp for Android and iOS.


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