As a result of lockdown the number of times a message is being forwarded has manifold and also increased spreading of fake information.
Back in 2018, WhatsApp started adding a “forwarded” label for any message that is being forwarded from one chat to another and later limited forwarding messages to 5 chats at once globally. Following that, WhatsApp has again started limiting message forwarding to prevent the spread of fake news related to the COVID-19 crisis.
WhatsApp says that the company has seen a significant increase in the number of forwarded messages and it might lead to the spread of fake information during this lockdown period. As a result, it is introducing a limit so that these messages can only be forwarded to one chat at a time.
With the new restrictions in place, users who have received frequently forward messages that were sent more than 5 times, can forward that particular message to only one contact/chat at a time. The company adds that the previous limit on forwarding messages to curb virality led to a 25% decrease in message forwards globally at the time.
Apart from this, to help users with correct information, WhatsApp is working directly with the governments, WHO, NGOs and over 20 national health ministries. This is a welcome move by WhatsApp as fake information spreads faster and it makes sense to impose a limit.