We’ve all experienced those family friends and soon-to-be-distant friends who keep forwarding WhatsApp messages claiming some form of unresearched fake news is legitimate. Messages which are currently being reduced, as TechCrunch is reporting that the forwarding of highly forwarded WhatsApp messages has dropped by 70 percent as a result of the company’s new forwarding limits.
The new changes which were introduced at the start of April following a spread of false and dangerous information around COVID-19, meant that any message that’s already been forwarded by five or more people can now only be forwarded to a single person or group. A change which is proving successful in slowing the spread of viral messages though it’s not exactly clear if those messages they are stopping are harmful or not.
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.
Considering WhatsApp doesn’t actually scan message content as a result of its encryption, there is no way for Facebook to really know the success of this campaign, though any initiative which slows down the spread of random information on WhatsApp is a good one in my opinion. Considering WhatsApp groups can contain as many as 256 people, it was always a hotbed for easily disseminating fake news and so maybe this will continue to help people be a little bit more aware of what they actually share in future.
Last Updated: April 28, 2020