Back in January last year, WhatsApp announced that it will be limiting the ability to forward messages to just five chats. It was followed by another revision in April this year, restricting message forwards to just one chat at a time. All this was done to curb the spread of fake news, misinformation and whack conspiracy theories such as the one that linked the COVID-19 outbreak to 5G. Today, Facebook has announced a similar initiative that limits the ability to forward messages to just five people or groups at a time on Messenger.
“Limiting forwarding is an effective way to slow the spread of viral misinformation and harmful content that has the potential to cause real world harm,” Facebook says in an official blog post. The social media giant adds that it is imposing a limit on message forwards to foil the efforts of bad actors aiming to cause chaos and undermine accurate information. The decision has been taken in view of the coronavirus pandemic (and the spread of linked conspiracy theories) as well as the upcoming elections in the US, New Zealand and other countries.
Talking about elections, Facebook has today also announced that it won’t accept new political ads in the week preceding the US elections. Additionally, the company also mentioned that it will remove posts that discourage people from voting by fanning coronavirus fears.
Earlier this month, Facebook introduced its Voting Information Center on its eponymous platform, Instagram and Messenger to help users discover accurate and easy-to-find information about voting wherever they live. This was preceded by the company boosting security on Messenger by adding support for Face ID or fingerprint recognition to protect chats. Back in July, Messenger also landed a screen-sharing tool that allowed users to share their phone or tablet’s screen with friends during a video call or in Messenger Rooms chats.