Whatsapp limits message forwarding to slow spread of fake news

Whatsapp imposed a limit on message forwarding to slow the spread of fake news. The new policy prevents users from sharing a message that was forwarded more than five times. Users will only be able to send a frequently forwarded message on to a single chat at a time. In this way, the company aims to reduce the dissemination of fake news. A WhatsApp spokesperson said ‘We know many users forward helpful information, as well as funny videos, memes and reflections or prayers they find meaningful.’ However, due to the encryption process WhatsApp uses, the company cannot access  message content sent through the application, and thus cannot employ moderation strategies like other platforms. By adding some friction into the forwarding process, the company expects to slow down the rhythm of spread of viral fake content.