WhatsApp has placed a new restriction on forwarded messages which is now limited to a recipient. The aim of this restriction is to curb the spread of misleading information around coronavirus on its platform.
Currently, on WhatsApp, a user can only forward a message to five chats at once. With the new restriction, once the user forwards the message to five contacts, he/she can send that message to just one WhatsApp group or individual subsequently.
WHY DID WHATSAPP DO THIS?
Since the outbreak of the pandemic, there has been a rise in the spread of misinformation, especially on social media. To curb this problem, the different social media platforms have been introducing new features and restrictions on their platforms.
WhatsApp is the largest instant messaging platform among all social media platforms. Due to this, the spread of this information seems to be on the high side.
In a blog post, the chat app mentioned that “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 conversations.”
The end-to-end encryption cannot allow WhatsApp to go through the users’ messages. However, the service relies on metadata to identify the number of forwarded messages sent.
Facebook–WhatsApp parent company– had noticed a rapid increase in forwarded messages during this period and has used this restriction to reduce the spread of unnecessary messages.
This is not all WhatsApp is doing to help in the coronavirus fight. The tech giant is also working with the World Health Organization (WHO) and 20 governments all over the world to provide accurate information to people about COVID-19.