WhatsApp has reported that “highly forwarded” messages are being shared around 70% less than before the current limit was put in place. This is obviously great for curbing the spread of fake news regarding the pandemic but also good to know that you’ll be sent fewer essays about how flashing your headlights at another driver at night will trigger a gang initiation from your out-of-touch Aunt.
Back in the before times, before we were all very aware of what it feels like to live the life of a hermit unable to leave their abode, WhatsApp announced that they would be doing their part to clamp down on the spread of viral and dangerous fake news. See, people like to believe anything a friend sends them if the message is long enough and has several percentages in it but most of the time those forwarded messages are hoaxes that can spread information that could make things far worse. To prevent these sorts of messages from spreading too far, WhatsApp announced that frequently forwarded messages could only be sent to one person or group at a time, instead of the previous five. While it seemed like a small change, it’s apparently working!
Speaking to TechCrunch, WhatsApp stated that, “Since putting into place this new limit, globally there has been a 70% reduction in the number of highly forwarded messages sent on WhatsApp,” which is actually pretty tremendous. “This change is helping keep WhatsApp a place for personal and private conversations. WhatsApp is committed to doing our part to tackle viral messages,” the spokesperson said today,” continued the spokesperson.
Let’s hope this limit sticks around after we’ve successfully eradicated COVID-19 because I, for one, am tired of that one uncle who always feels the need to forward a message regarding discount vouchers for Pick ‘n Pay.