WhatsApp has announced a significant change when it comes to sharing messages on the platform, with the application noting that the spread of misinformation remains a top priority.

This makes sense given the company that owns WhatsApp, Facebook, has taken a similar stance to misinformation in recent weeks due to COVID-19.

As for the change, WhatsApp has introduced a new limit for sharing messages, and in particular messages which are deemed to be “highly forwarded” or viral for lack of a better term.

To that end, messages sent through a chain of five or more people, can now only be forwarded to a single person, the platform explains.

“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 wrote in a blog post.

“In addition to this change, we are working directly with NGOs and governments, including the World Health Organization and over 20 national health ministries, to help connect people with accurate information,” the platform adds.

As such there is clearly a larger focus on reducing panic, as well as halting the spread of misinformation by WhatsApp, but how this approach will impact messages deemed as vital information for the public, remains to be seen.

It will also be interesting to see if this new limit will have the desired outcome, and ensure that accurate information is shared by users.

“We believe that now more than ever people need to be able to connect privately. Our teams are hard at work to keep WhatsApp running reliably during this unprecedented global crisis. We’ll continue to listen to your feedback and improve ways for people to share with each other on WhatsApp,” the firm’s blog concludes.

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