WhatsApp is rolling out an additional restriction on how many times users can share a message as a way to fight the spread of misinformation about the COVID-19 pandemic. The company said today that the restriction will prevent users from forwarding popular messages to more than one contact or chat at a time, reducing the overall speed with which information spreads through the service.
The initiative continues WhatsApp's efforts to reduce the volume of message forwards. The service limited the number of users that can get the same message at once to five last year, and it allowed to decrease the frequency of forwards by an impressive 25%. The importance of these measures is backed up by the company's focus on keeping the messenger "a place for personal conversation".
But the real reason WhatsApp seems to pay a lot of attention to slowing the spread of information is that misinformation has already caused deaths in a couple of regions, including India. So Facebook, which owns the messenger, is trying to prevent new lynchings. It also introduced an info center with only reliable news and important information about the spread of the pandemic.
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