Before the public health crisis, WhatsApp users were limited to forwarding messages to five users at a time. This earlier limit was first introduced in India in an attempt to spread the spread of misinformation in the chat application. After a huge success – WhatsApp said that spam messages were reduced by a quarter (25%) at the time, the messaging app decided to launch the limitation worldwide.
Obviously, the most recent restriction does not prevent repeatedly sending the same text messages to each of your contacts, but it will make the task much more laborious. And it seems to be driving people away.
And it seems that the new limit introduced during the COVID-19 pandemic has seen even greater gains in combating disinformation.
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According to WhatsApp, a person's limit had a 70% reduction in the number of highly forwarded messages. WhatsApp defines a "highly forwarded" message as any text that has been passed five times or more.
This is usually indicative of a viral message – designed to be shared with several friends and family. Several conspiracy theories, rumors and rumors about the new coronavirus, including one that 5G masts affected the spread of the virus that led people to set equipment on fire across the UK, emerged during the outbreak.
In a statement, WhatsApp – which is comfortably the most widely used messaging app on the planet, with two billion users – said: "WhatsApp is committed to doing our part to fight viral messages. We recently introduced a limit on sharing & # 39; highly forwarded messages & # 39; for just one chat. Since the implementation of this new limit, worldwide there has been a 70% reduction in the number of highly forwarded messages sent on WhatsApp. This change is helping to keep WhatsApp a place for personal and private conversations ".
This is an impressive drop. However, as all conversations, voice memos, photos, video calls and documents sent on WhatsApp are encrypted from end to end, it is difficult to track whether these measures are getting the right messages.
However, WhatsApp seems to be bothered by progress, so I hope the damaging misinformation around the coronavirus is not traveling as fast – or as wide – as it was during the first weeks of the pandemic.
The news comes when WhatsApp has doubled the number of people who can participate in video chat in its chat app. This was developed to help people keep in touch, keeping the rules of social distance.