In an effort to curb the spread of misinformation WhatsApp will reduce the amount of times a person can forward a message to their contacts.
According to a report by Reuters, WhatsApp’s vice president for policy and communications, Victoria Grand, announced that users around the world would only be able to forward messages to five contacts at once, as of Monday.
This restriction has been in effect in India since last year July when rumours spread using the platform and other social media, led to attempts on people’s lives.
The platform says that after evaluating the forward message limitation in India it has decided to limit all of its users.
“Starting today, all users on the latest versions of WhatsApp can now forward to only five chats at once, which will help keep WhatsApp focused on private messaging with close contacts. We’ll continue to listen to user feedback about their experience, and over time, look for new ways of addressing viral content,” the firm wrote in a blog update.
To us this limitation feels similar to if Facebook suddenly limited the amount of shares you could use per day or Twitter only allowed you to retweet folks who also followed you.
Sure, it stops misinformation on a large-scale but, in the same breath, with the ability to create huge groups and circulate messages within WhatsApp, this limitation seems like a band-aid on a gaping wound.
According to the wording of its statement, there isn’t a limit to the amount of times you can forward a message just the number of chats you can select while mass forwarding messages.
Credit to the firm for testing something out though rather than letting the problem spiral out of control as appeared to happen in Myanmar with Facebook.
WhatsApp does say that the number of forward messages did drop in India during the limitation but we’d really like to know how much or little misinformation was spread during that time to see just how well this limitation works.