WhatsApp tightens message forwarding to help decrease spread of misinformation

Apr 7 2020, 11:57 am

WhatsApp is making changes to its message forwarding function in order to help stop the spread of misinformation on the application.

The company announced on Tuesday, that it is introducing a limit to the number of times a message that isn’t from a close contact can be forwarded.

Previously, the app used double arrows to indicate messages that have been forwarded many times, and did not originate from a close contact.

The new limit will mean these messages can only be forwarded to one chat at a time.

“In recent weeks, people have also used WhatsApp to organize public moments of support for frontline health workers,” said a statement from the company online.

“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 company previously tested a limit on message forwards to to constrain virality, and at the time, saw a 25% decrease in total message forwards globally.

In addition, WhatsApp is working with a number of NGO’s and governments, including the World Health Organization, to help connect people with accurate information.

Users can also submit potential myths, hoaxes and rumours to fact checking organizations in their area.