With a view to limit the circulation of fake news and misinformation through its platform, WhatsApp on Tuesday narrowed down the limit of frequently forwarded messages to one chat at a time. This comes as an update to the existing limit that was allowing users to forward a message for up to five times, but as noted above, only applies to frequently forwarded messages that have been previously forwarded five times or more. The new move by the Facebook-owned company is aimed to help slow the spread of misinformation during the coronavirus outbreak that’s impacting people worldwide. WhatsApp was recently also spotted offering a feature to let users verify forwarded messages online.
Since many people are staying at home due to the coronavirus spread and lockdowns imposed in several countries includin India, WhatsApp forwards have increased to new levels. The company also noted in a blog post that it had seen a significant increase in the amount of forwarding that are counted as “overwhelming” by users and “can contribute to the spread of misinformation”. Thus, it makes sense for WhatsApp to limit forwards to one chat at a time.
The new update is meant to restrict users from a frequently forwarded message to more than one user at once. However, this doesn’t mean that users won’t be able to forward a frequently forwarded message to multiple users at all. They can still copy a message and paste in the textbox of various chats.
Last month, WhatsApp was spotted testing the feature that lets users verify the content of the forwarded messages by searching it online. A magnifying glass icon is available next to the frequently forwarded messages on some of the recent WhatsApp beta versions that allows users to do a Web search and ascertain the authenticity of such messages.