WhatsApp Introduces New Limit on Message Forwards to Flatten Curve of Virality

The new feature will prevent a frequently forwarded message from being sent to more than one chat, WhatsApp said in a statement.

New Delhi| In order to limit the circulation of fake news and misinformation through its platform, WhatsApp on Tuesday narrowed down the limit of frequently forwarded messages to one chat at a time.

This comes as an update to the existing limit that was allowing users to forward a message for up to five times, but as noted above, only applies to frequently forwarded messages that have been previously forwarded five times or more.

The new step by the Facebook-owned company is aimed to help slow the spread of misinformation during the coronavirus outbreak that’s impacting people worldwide. WhatsApp was recently also spotted offering a feature to let users verify forwarded messages online.

So now if you get a new message on your phone that has already been forwarded more than five times, you will be able to forward it only to one more chat — this could be a person or a group.

However, this doesn’t mean that users won’t be able to forward a frequently forwarded message to multiple users at all. They can still copy a message and paste in the textbox of various chats. Users can also use the forward option multiple times to send a single message to various users.

Also Read: Fake news proving deadly in India: BBC

That being said, the change is a welcome step as it would certainly put some impact on the circulation of fake news, which is quite common on the instant messaging platform thanks to its expanded user base of more than two billion users globally — with over 400 million users in India alone.

Rumours and videos purportedly showing coronavirus patients or touting cures for the pandemic have been going viral on all social media platforms and creating a headache for health as well as security agencies. Most state governments have warned of criminal action if such messages are forwarded by anyone.

(Input from Agencies)

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