WhatsApp limits message forwards to other groups to curb misinformation

WhatsApp is limiting the number of times users can forward a message in a group chat, a change designed to slow down the spread of misinformation on the platform.

An illustration with a WhatsApp logo in white set against a green background
  • WhatsApp is currently testing a new feature that could stop spammers from bulk-forwarding a forwarded message to multiple group chats at once.
  • This stops the same message from being easily forwarded to further group conversations, which could help curb the dissemination of misinformation.
  • WhatsApp hasn’t said when the feature might expand to everyone. It could nix the feature should it receive predominantly negative feedback, so there’s that.

WhatsApp to limit message forwarding in group chats

Bulk message-forwarding is a real problem, that’s how fake news and COVID-19 misinformation has managed to spread rapidly. But now, Meta-owned WhatsApp is testing limiting the number of times you can forward a message. According to WABetaInfo, you can no longer take the message that has already been forwarded to a group chat and forward it to another group chat. In other words, the test restricts you from forwarding a message to a group conversation just once.

Attempting to forward a forwarded message from one group chat to another will yield an error message warning the user that “Forwarded messages can only be sent to one group chat.” You can still individually send the same message to multiple users as you always have been. What this test does is simply prevent you from re-forwarding the message that has already been forwarded in a group chat.

The feature was uncovered from the WhatsApp for iOS beta, which is available through Apple’s TestFlight software (if you’re lucky enough, the number of beta testers per app is limited). Currently, anyone with a WhatsApp account can forward a message to a group conversation, and then forward the same message to additional group chats. Read: New to Mac? How to set up and use the Messages app

These tests can take anywhere from a few weeks to a few months to complete so there’s no telling when this feature might launch. WhatsApp can ultimately decide to pull the feature in case of negative feedback. Watch this space as we’ll be making sure to keep you in the loop. Read: How to pin Messages conversations