WhatsApp announces 70% drop in ‘viral message’ forwards after implementing restriction
WhatsApp has announced on Monday that spread of “highly forwarded” messages sent on the popular messaging service had dropped by 70% globally weeks after introducing a new restriction.
Earlier this month, WhatsApp introduced a limit so that messages can only be forwarded to one chat at a time. The restriction was rolled out globally to WhatsApp’s 2 billion users on April 7.
WhatsApp has previously set limits on forwarded messages to constrain virality, which led to a 25% decrease in message forwards globally at the time.
"Is all forwarding bad? Certainly not. We know many users forward helpful information, as well as funny videos, memes, and reflections or prayers they find meaningful. In recent weeks, people have also used WhatsApp to organize public moments of support for frontline health workers. However, we’ve seen a significant increase in the amount of forwarding which users have told us can feel overwhelming and can contribute to the spread of misinformation. We believe it’s important to slow the spread of these messages down to keep WhatsApp a place for personal conversation," said WhatsApp in a previous statement.
“We recently introduced a limit to sharing ‘highly forwarded messages’ to just one chat. Since putting into place this new limit, globally there has been a 70% reduction in the number of highly forwarded messages sent on WhatsApp,” a WhatsApp spokesperson told TechCrunch in a statement.
It is believed the cut down on forwarded messages should help WhatsApp tackle the backlash it has received in many countries.
New Delhi asked WhatsApp and other messaging and social media firms last month to do more to control the viral hoaxes circulating on their platforms about coronavirus infection.
WhatsApp and its parent firm, Facebook, have taken several efforts in recent months to help governments in many countries, including India, reach their citizens and share authoritative information about the coronavirus pandemic.