Whatsapp now limits message forwarding to combat misinformation and fake news
Fake news and misinformation has been a problem for Zimbabwe and many other countries across the world and whatsapp is one platform by which fake news spread from one person to the other. Last year in a bid to fight the spread of fake news, whatsapp had removed the forwarding button, but later rolled it back. When the forward feature was rolled in, it had a limit of 20, that means a message could be forwarded to 20 chats at a go. But the new forwarding limit is set to 5 chats, and once a user exceeds 5 chats or shares it displays the following message.
There is still more to be done with whatsapp and on social media in general to combat fake news and misinformation. While I do not justify the actions by the governments to block the internet and social media access, the idea is to fight fake news and misinformation.
While these controls and limnits can help to alleviate the danger of fake news, they make it harder for individuals and business to market effectively. Whatsapp groups remains at 256 group participants and that means if one forwards to a group and each participant forward to groups and individuals, there could be a multiplier effect resulting in thousands being reached.
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