Whatsapp imposes an additional restriction on how often a message can be shared on their platform to curb the spread of misinformation.
The Facebook The instant messaging service, which is owned, today announced that any message that has been forwarded five or more times is now subject to a new limit that prevents a user from simultaneously sending it to more than one chat (contact) forwards.
A spokesman told theinformationsuperhighway that WhatsApp will make this change available to users worldwide today.
Today's move builds on WhatsApp's efforts last year when users were prevented from forwarding a message to more than five users at the same time. The service, which is used by more than 2 billion users, has enabled it to reduce the worldwide volume of messages forwarded by 25%.
WhatsApp's end-to-end encryption, which the company is fighting for in multiple markets, prevents it from reading the content of a message. Therefore, it relies on a message's metadata to measure its distribution.
"Is the entire forwarding bad? Certainly not, ”the company wrote in a blog post today. "However, we have seen a significant increase in the amount of redirects that users have told us that they feel overwhelming and can help spread misinformation." We believe it is important to slow down the spread of these messages so WhatsApp remains a place for personal conversations. "
Over a dozen deaths in recent years – several on WhatsApp's largest market, India – have been linked to the viral spread of misinformation on the Facebook service.
Facebook has made several efforts in the past few weeks as the world grapples with the coronavirus pandemic. Last month, free messenger developer tools to combat COVID-19 were announced, and an info center was added above the newsfeed to provide reliable information.
The company also works with nonprofits like WHO to help build helplines and is committed to donating millions of dollars. The hotline of the World Health Organization for Messenger and WhatsApp reached more than 10 million users just days after it was launched. The Indian government also launched a help desk bot on WhatsApp last month.
But Facebook's wide reach has also attracted fraudsters. "Unfortunately, fraudsters can try to take advantage of the vulnerability and generosity of people at this time," wrote Stan Chudnovsky, VP of Messenger.
WhatsApp has also tested a feature in the beta version of its Android app that allows users to quickly search the web with the text or video they have received for more context.
A spokesman said the platform plans to introduce this feature in the near future.