Rumours and Misinformation are a big issue in today’s world. The juicier the rumour, the higher are its chances of spreading like wildfire and hurting our society, even causing mob violence in some cases. To combat this significant issue, social media and important messaging platforms have various restrictions. In 2019, WhatsApp prohibited users from sharing frequently forwarded messages to more than five chats at a time. A year later, it further lowered this limit to just one conversation. Now, the Facebook-owned messaging service WhatsApp is looking to restrict the forwarding of all messages to just one group chat.
Currently, WhatsApp has this restriction for viral or frequently forwarded messages. Once a message is shared more than four times, it is marked as frequently delivered, and they are denoted by a Forwarded label on top and a double arrow. However, going by the change in the beta program, it looks like the restriction will soon come into effect for regular messages as well. As spotted by WABetaInfo in v18.104.22.168 of WhatsApp beta for Android, users are shown a warning — “Forwarded messages can only be sent to one group chat.”
It is unclear why the messaging app is making this change, but it is possible that it further wants to limit the spread of rumours and Misinformation on its platform. The limitation will make it annoying to forward a chat to more than one group at once, and users will need to share the message individually in each group. This should be enough of a deterrent to reduce the spread of Misinformation, and it might also reduce the number of unwanted memes and good morning messages on the platform.