WhatsApp is going to be instilling new measures to prevent the spread of misinformation and otherwise harmful forwarded messages on its app.
The company has said it will be limiting the number of people a “highly forwarded” message can be sent to. Reported by The Verge, the number of people these viral messages can be forwarded to has been cut from the previous limit of five down to one. This new measure has been put in place starting today.
This isn’t the first time WhatsApp has lowered the forwarding message limit. In July 2018, WhatsApp placed the five-person limit. The results from that showed a 25% decrease in messaging forwards globally.
In a blog post, WhatsApp, a company under the Facebook umbrella detailed why forwarded messages can be harmful, especially given the current global circumstances. While the company acknowledges that forwarded messages can be positive, the company has also “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.”
While this is technically a soft limit, WhatsApp hopes to add a barricade making it slightly more inconvenient to spam harmful and otherwise misinformed messages across the app. Users are still able to forward the same message repeatedly, but the added steps may dissuade some from doing so.