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WhatsApp is imposing extra restrictions on how frequently a message can be shared on its platform in its latest effort to limit the spread of misinformation.
Now, when users receive a message that has already been frequently forwarded they will only be able to forward it to one chat at a time. Previously, such messages could be forwarded to five different chats at once.
The service, used by more than 2 billion users, said the move allowed it to reduce the volume of message forwards globally by 25%.
“Is all forwarding bad? Certainly not,” the company wrote in a blog post this week. “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.”
Because WhatsApp uses end-to-end encryption, it cannot see the content of messages and therefore use the same moderation tools that are deployed by social networks such as Facebook and Twitter.
WhatsApp has also been testing a feature on the beta version of its Android app that gives users the ability to quickly comb through the web with the text or video they have received for more context.