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WhatsApp says its forwarding limits have cut the spread of viral messages by 70 percent

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The unfold of “extremely forwarded” messages on WhatsApp has dropped by 70 p.c because of the corporate’s new forwarding limits, TechCrunch reports. The brand new measures had been launched firstly of April in response to the unfold of coronavirus-related misinformation on the service. The adjustments meant that any message that’s already been forwarded by 5 or extra individuals can now solely be forwarded to a single individual or group.

The information signifies that WhatsApp’s new restrict is efficiently slowing down the unfold of viral messages, even though individuals nonetheless have the choice of manually forwarding a message to a number of individuals or teams. Nevertheless, it’s inconceivable to know what number of of those messages comprise the misinformation that WhatsApp is making an attempt to halt, versus what number of of them are useful recommendation or innocent memes.

WhatsApp has confronted intense scrutiny concerning the function of its service in spreading misinformation in the course of the pandemic. WhatsApp teams can comprise as many as 256 members, that means messages can unfold rapidly between a lot of customers. Final month, CNN and other news organizations reported that the service was getting used to share misinformation about coronavirus cures, and the Indian authorities has requested WhatsApp and different social media companies to do more to control the spread of viral misinformation on their platforms.

“We’ve seen a major enhance within the quantity of forwarding which customers have informed us can really feel overwhelming and may contribute to the unfold of misinformation,” the company said when it introduced the brand new measures. “We consider it’s essential to sluggish the unfold of those messages all the way down to hold WhatsApp a spot for private dialog.”

This isn’t the primary time WhatsApp has launched adjustments to assist sluggish the unfold of misinformation. In 2018, it began labeling forwarded messages to let you realize that the individual you acquired a message from won’t be the unique sender, and final 12 months, it launched a five-person forwarding restrict for messages. The service has additionally promoted the usage of a World Health Organization bot to supply verified details about the COVID-19 pandemic.

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