WhatsApp limits message forwarding: what changes

WhatsApp has imposed a new limit on the forwarding of dubious messages: you can only do it for one chat at a time. Here's what changes

WhatsApp takes the field to limit the spread of fake news in this very difficult time for billions of people around the World. After limiting the length of videos in the states to fifteen seconds (for the moment only in India), now the application sets a new limit: messages forwarded too many times will only be able to be sent to one chat at a time.

This may seem like a minor change, but it's really not. WhatsApp is one of the most used platforms by users to message and keep in touch with friends and family in this period when we are all stuck at home. Among the many messages sent, however, there are some that go viral quickly and are fake news. At a time when correct information makes all the difference in curbing contagion, WhatsApp has decided to limit forwarded messages to help the work of doctors and governments. Here's what changes for users in their daily lives.

WhatsApp, how the limit on message forwarding works

The app's developers have been working on the "forwarding" feature for quite some time now. Unfortunately, it is the favorite tool of hackers and scammers to make certain types of messages go viral. Already last year, technicians intervened by limiting the number of chats to which messages of dubious origin could be forwarded to five. The app had also introduced a label to distinguish them: a double arrow above the message.

The limit of forwarding messages of dubious origin to five chats at a time has been lowered to one chat at a time. According to WhatsApp, this is a great tool to stop the spread of fake news: already the five-chat limit has lowered the number of forwarded messages by 25 percent globally. With this additional cut, it is hoped to put an end to this rather unsavory practice. The new tool will remain even after the end of the emergency, unlike the limit imposed on the videos of the states that will be removed.

Message forwarding limit: what changes for users

It is certainly not a momentous change for users, but we are certainly faced with a limitation that will lead to a different and more conscious use of the application. When you get a message announcing yet another video that infects your smartphone or coupons to buy food or clothing, users will be less eager to forward them to every single chat.

WhatsApp wanted to emphasize, however, that not all forwarded messages contain fake news or contribute to misinformation, and that in many cases they are useful information, funny videos, memes and meaningful reflections.

When will the new tool be active

You won't have to wait for any app updates: the new tool has already been activated by WhatsApp engineers, both for the desktop version and for the Android and iOS app.

What WhatsApp is doing to curb Covid-19 contagion

It may sound strange, but even messaging apps can help in a small way to stop Covid-19 contagion. From the beginning, WhatsApp has provided its tools to help healthcare workers stay in touch with their family members and colleagues. The app is also used by the WHO to disseminate the correct information about the spread of the virus and how to use masks and other personal protective equipment.