New Delhi: WhatsApp has tightened its message forwarding limits thereby restricting users from sharing forwarded information one chat at a time. This new limit intends to combat misinformation and bogus medical advice during the COVID-19 pandemic.
The Facebook-owned company said in a blog post, “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 a personal conversation,” it added.
So, starting from Tuesday, any content, message or piece of information that has been already forwarded more than five times can only be forwarded to a single group or a person. The change, however, cannot stop someone from forwarding a message to various users individually but can slow down the spread of hoaxes and misinformation.
This pandemic which has already claimed so many lives worldwide has been accompanied by a heavy influx of “infodemic” of misinformation as stated by the World Health Organisation (WHO). This has prompted authorities and the government to urge social media companies to do something more to combat the problem.
In the blog post, WhatsApp stated that they have made the change after seeing a “significant increase” in the number of forwards since the start of the COVID-19 crisis. The app, which has more than two billion users worldwide, stated, “We believe it’s important to slow the spread of these messages down to keep WhatsApp a place for personal conversation.”
WhatsApp’s market is the largest in India with over 200 million users and the spread of hoaxes, rumours, and misinformation has been on a rampant increase. Such a step is necessary to help curb the flow of fake news in the war against this pandemic.