WhatsApp introduces stricter limit on forwards

Sharing of frequently forwarded messages on WhatsApp will be limited to only one chat at a time

To slow the spread of misinformation via its platform, WhatsApp on Tuesday announced a new stricter limit on forwarding messages. Now, frequently forwarded messages — those which have been previously forwarded five times or more, can only be forwarded to one chat at a time.

“With billions of people unable to see their friends and family in person due to COVID-19, people are relying on WhatsApp more than ever to communicate. People are talking to doctors, teachers, and isolated loved ones via WhatsApp during this crisis,” the Facebook-owned firm said in a blog.

It, however, added that, “...we’ve seen a significant increase in the amount of forwarding which users have told us can feel overwhelming and can contribute to the spread of misinformation. We believe it’s important to slow the spread of these messages down to keep WhatsApp a place for personal conversation.”

WhatsApp said that its previous move to reduced limit on forwarded messages to constrain virality led to a 25% decrease in message forwards globally at the time.

The company had in 2018 started testing the forwarding limit of five chats at once in India, where people forward more messages, photos, and videos than any other country in the world. The forward limit was later introduced around the world in 2019.

The company had also started labeling messages that have been forwarded many times with double arrows to indicate they did not originate from a close contact. “In effect, these messages are less personal compared to typical messages sent on WhatsApp. We are now introducing a limit so that these messages can only be forwarded to one chat at a time,” it said.

In addition, the company said it is working directly with NGOs and governments, including the World Health Organization and over 20 national health ministries, to help connect people with accurate information.

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Printable version | Jun 4, 2020 8:11:32 AM |

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