WhatsApp is used by billions of people every month and one feature people love using is the forwarding feature. People love forwarding messages (especially viral) that can be either useful or downright useless.
Some forwards can be dangerous since they can help in spreading fake news to a lot of people at a time. They started a test to limit forwarding messages to only 5 chats at once in India over a year ago and now they are implementing another limit.
Today, WhatsApp has announced that messages that have been identified as “highly forwarded (more than 5 chats) can only be forwarded to a single person. This is aimed at reducing the speed at which such messages spread around WhatsApp. Messages that have been forwarded many times are labelled with double arrows.
“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 on their blog.
WhatsApp says their previous test on limiting forwarded messages led to a 25% decrease in message forwards globally. This means that this new test will further decrease the spread of such viral forwards even further.
During this COVID-19 pandemic, more people are relying on platforms like WhatsApp to get information about the pandemic. Unscrupulous people might use the platform to spread misinformation, which is dangerous for such a pandemic. WhatsApp has useful bots in spreading of accurate info about the pandemic like the World Health Organization bot or Kenya’s Ministry of Health bot that gives Kenyans easy access to such information.