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WhatsApp restricts the forwarding of messages to curb the spread of misinformation


WhatsApp has further restrictions on message forwarding.

Angela Lang / CNET

For the latest news and information about the coronavirus pandemic, see the WHO website.

WhatsApp takes action against message forwarding on Tuesday to control the spread of misinformation related to the outbreak of the coronavirus . If you receive a message that has been forwarded more than five times, you can only forward it to one chat at a time.

"We know that many users find helpful information, as well as funny videos, memes and reflections or prayers, useful," said his blog post. "However, we have seen a significant increase in the amount of redirects that users have told us can feel overwhelming and can help spread misinformation."

So far, you could send such messages to five chats at the same time – a limitation that Facebook's messaging service imposed last year after 2018. Mob violence and lynching in India have been linked to false information that has spread through the app.

You can still forward messages one at a time, but WhatsApp hopes the added friction will keep people from spreading rumors casually. The company also prohibits around two million accounts a month from trying to send mass or automated messages.

WhatsApp partnered with health officials to create a coronavirus information hub and provided a $ 1 million grant to help address related misinformation about the disease. It is also reported that a fact-checking function was tested for messages.

The new coronavirus strain, which can develop into a respiratory disease called COVID-19 was discovered in Wuhan, China, in December and has spread worldwide over the months since then. By Tuesday morning, it had infected more than 1.3 million people and caused over 74,000 deaths worldwide.

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