WhatsApp Introduces Limits On Forwarding Messages to Only One Chat At a Time
In an effort to curb misinformation and fake news amid the coronavirus pandemic, Facebook Inc.-owned messenger app, WhatsApp, will now allow frequently forwarded messages, that have already been shared five times, to be sent only to one person at a time.
“We are now introducing a limit so that these messages can only be forwarded to one chat at a time…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,” WhatsApp said in its blog post.
The app has continuously been evolving its strategies to limit the forwarding of messages. Two years ago, a user could send a forwarded message to 250 groups that hosted hundreds of members in it, CNN reported. However, after a host of viral messages led to a couple of lynchings in India in 2018, the company announced it would allow users to send forwarded messages only to five groups at a time. This move resulted in a 25% reduction in forwarding, Whatsapp’s blog post added.
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With the new feature, there’s a loophole Whatsapp is yet to verify — users may still be able to copy a message and paste it in the text box of different chats, ultimately, forwarding the message to multiple people, at the same time, writes NDTV’s technology journalist, Jagmeet Singh.
However, as an additional step in limiting the spread of fake news, the app is also testing a feature that would display a magnifying glass next to frequently forwarded messages that would enable users to find articles to debunk a message or give them more information by taking them to a web search for that message. This would help users decide whether the message is true and should it be forwarded.
WhatsApp is yet to clarify when this feature will be rolled out, CNN added.
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