To stop circulation of fake news and misinformation, WhatsApp has updated its app to limit forwarding message to one chat from the previous five chats. WhatsApp on Tuesday said starting today, messages that have been identified as “highly forwarded” — sent through a chain of five or more people — can only be forwarded to a single person. The move is designed to reduce the speed with which information moves through WhatsApp, putting truth and fiction on a more even footing.
“We know many users forward helpful information, as well as funny videos, memes, and reflections or prayers they find meaningful. In recent weeks, people have also used WhatsApp to organize public moments of support for frontline health workers,” the company, which is part of Facebook, said in a blog post. “However, 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.”
Since many people are staying at home due to the coronavirus spread and lockdowns imposed in several countries including 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.
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