Whatsapp put a restriction on how often message forwarding can be done to prevent false information from spreading over the platform about coronavirus.
Whatsapp limits bulk message forwarding due to the rain of misinformation through its platform. Whatsapp announced in a statement that “frequently forwarded” messages will be limited. The company has announced that people can forward messages to five chats at a time. The aim is to prevent spereading false information through messages.
With the global coronavirus outbreak, the Whatsapp’s parent company, Facebook, faced misinformation criticism. Facebook and Instagram tightened their rules further to prevent false flow of information.
Since Whatsapp has an encrypted message model, it is a platform where content is difficult to control and manipulate. Facebook does not have any access to these messages, and therefore, the spread of false information cannot be stopped.
On the Whatsapp blog, the company stated regarding the action taken on message forwarding limit, “We know many users forward helpful information, as well as funny videos, memes, and reflections or prayers they find meaningful. However, we’ve seen a significant increase in the amount of forwarding which users have told us can feel overwhelming”.
In Whatsapp, especially after the coronavirus epidemic the spread of fake news has become so widespread, that some sound recordings and videos have frequently found their way in the mainstream media.
This is not the first measure Whatsapp takes to prevent the spread of false information. The company made a restriction on the number of messages in January last year. This happened after Whatsapp’s claims to spread disinformatics in the Brazilian elections in 2018. There was also an accusation against Whatsapp about links that encouraged gang violence in India.
In 2019, Whatsapp added labels with double arrows to frequently forwarded bulk messages to make them aware of bulk forwarded messages.