WhatsApp is introducing stricter restrictions to curb spread of fake messages
Starting from today.
WhatsApp is is imposing additional restrictions on how frequently a message can be shared on its platform in its latest effort to curb the spread of fake messages.
Starting today, messages that have been identified as “highly forwarded”, meaning they've been sent through a chain of five or more people, can only be forwarded to a single person.
WhatsApp will roll out this change to users worldwide today.
The move is aimed at reducing the speed at which the information spreads on the app, in particular, information that is repeatedly forwarded.
"We know many users forward helpful information, as well as funny videos, memes, and reflections or prayers they find meaningful," WhatsApp said in a statement.
"In recent weeks, people have also used WhatsApp to organise 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."
The move will not prevent messages being forwarded because in reality, the messages will be forwarded as long as people are willing to press the forward button.
However, making it a longer process with increased barriers could have a positive impact on slowing the spread of misinformation on the app.
Last year, the company limited the number of people you could forward an individual message to five people which it said reduced the number of message forwards globally by 5%.
WhatsApp is end-to-end encrypted, which prevents the company reading the content of a message so it then relies on the metadata of a message to judge its spread.