In a bid to fight misinformation and to prevent its users from getting overwhelmed with forwarded messages, WhatsApp is introducing a new limit on forwarding messages. Previously, the messaging service limited forwarding messages to five contacts at once. Starting today though, there is a limit of one chat at a time.
This new limit kicks in after you have forwarded a message to five of your contacts. So, once you forward a message to five of your contacts on WhatsApp, you won’t be able to forward it to five more contacts like before. Instead, you will only be able to forward it to one person at a time. Since WhatsApp has end-to-end encryption, the service cannot go through your messages. The service is relying on metadata to identify forwarded messages and impose this limitation.
WhatsApp notes in its announcement that it has seen a “significant increase” in the number of forwarded messages on its platform which can help in the spread of misinformation. So, to slow down such news and keep WhatsApp a place meant for personal communication, it is introducing this new limit.
Is all forwarding bad? Certainly not. We know many users forward helpful information, as well as funny videos, memes, and reflections or prayers they find meaningful. In recent weeks, people have also used WhatsApp to organize 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.
WhatsApp is also working with NGOs, WHO, and governments to help ensure people are served accurate information on its platform.[Via WhatsApp]