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WhatsApp tightens limit on forwarding of messages to curb spread of misinformation

WhatsApp tightens limit on forwarding of messages to curb spread of misinformation

FILE PHOTO: The WhatsApp messaging application is seen on a phone screen August 3, 2017. REUTERS/Thomas White

SINGAPORE: WhatsApp is imposing tighter restrictions on how many times users can forward a message, in its latest effort to minimise the spread of misinformation. 

For any message that is deemed “highly forwarded”, users will now only be able to forward it to one chat (person or group), announced the Facebook-owned instant messaging service on Tuesday (Apr 7). 

"Highly forwarded" messages are marked by double arrows, indicating that they had been forwarded more than five times, and did not originate from a close contact. 

The latest move builds on similar efforts by WhatsApp previously, which limited users to forwarding a message to up to five chats. 

"The limitation has helped constrain virality, resulting in a 25 per cent decrease in messages forwarded globally last year," said WhatsApp.

"The Facebook company is committed to keep users across its family of apps informed and safe during the COVID-19 outbreak by providing access to accurate information and reducing misinformation and harmful content."

In Singapore alone, there have been several instances of false information being spread amid the outbreak of the novel coronavirus. 

On Saturday, police debunked text and audio messages making its rounds claiming there were people robbing residents under the pretext of distributing reusable masks as part of a new Government initiative.

Last week, Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong warned people of an email from someone impersonating him. The email asks for "contributions and thoughts" as Singapore tackles the spread of COVID-19. Mr Lee said the matter has been reported to police.

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Source: CNA/aa(gs)


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