WhatsApp on Tuesday announced that it has imputed a limit on the forwarding of messages on the app. From Wednesday, the messages that have been serialized as repeatedly forwarded messages or sent over five times can now be forwarded to a single chat at a time. This step has been commenced by the ‘Facebook-owned’ messaging app to terminate the spread of ‘false information’ around coronavirus through the platform.
“We’ve seen a significant increase in the amount of forwarding which users have told us can feel overwhelming and contribute to the spread of misinformation. We believe it’s important to slow the spread of these messages to keep WhatsApp a place for personal conversation,” the Menlo Parkbased Company said.
Apar Gupta, executive director, Internet Freedom Foundation an internet law advocacy platform, said the objective of the limitation is to stop the re-circulation of forwarded messages, which people have been gaming by sending messages from different numbers.
“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. 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,” WhatsApp mentioned in a blog post.
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. A recent report by consulting firm Kantar highlighted that WhatsApp saw a 40 percent increase in its usage due to the COVID-19 spread. The app was found to have received the “greatest gains” in usage among other social media apps.
WhatsApp is rolling out the new frequently forwarded message limit to both Android and iPhone users and it will be available globally shortly.
(Source: Gadget360, TOI, India Today)