28 April 2020
In an attempt to reduce the spread of misinformation, WhatsApp has imposed a new limit on the number of times a message can be forwarded. The official blog post reads that frequently sent messages can now be forwarded only to one chat at a time. It means if you would want to send such a message to multiple contacts, you will have to do it manually for each of them.
WhatsApp says that messages that have already been forwarded at least five times will be deemed as frequently sent messages. This is when the new limitation will come into the picture and make people forward those messages on an individual basis. The whole aim of the restriction is to reduce the probability of misinformation getting spread everywhere.
In the official post, WhatsApp said:
"Is all forwarding bad? Certainly not. 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."
This is the newest move from WhatsApp to ensure that correct and updated COVID-19 related information gets shared on the platform. It has already announced an official WHO chatbot for users to connect and even added a Google search shortcut to check the authenticity of a forwarded message. It says that the team is working with over 20 national health ministries and NGOs to help users get official information on the situation.