WhatsApp beta trials limits on forwarding messages to group chats

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WhatsApp is seemingly introducing new limits to forwarding messages to other group chats in its iOS messaging app, a change that could help cut down on the spread of misinformation.

Social media platforms are known to be a hotbed for the spread of spam and misinformation, with it easily able to be shared with other users. In what seems to be an attempt to curtail misinformation, the Meta-owned WhatsApp is starting to test out limits to how messages spread.

Previously seen in a beta for the Android app, WABetaInfo reports the beta of WhatsApp for iOS now has a feature limiting how far a forwarded message can travel. While users under the beta can forward a message to a group chat once, that same message cannot be forwarded onto further group chats.

A screenshot within the app states "Forwarded messages can only be sent to one group chat." The report adds that the limitation only applies to messages that have already been forwarded, meaning that the original message writer can still send the initial message on to other users without the same limit.

The forwarding limitation message in the WhatsApp beta. [via WABetaInfo]

While the feature appears in the beta version of the messaging app, it is unknown when it will migrate to the public release. However, as it seems more beta users will see it rolled out to them in the coming weeks, it may become more widespread not long after.

Misinformation is a problem that tech companies have tried to tackle for years, with it also an issue that has caught the attention of lawmakers. In July 2021, senators attempted to introduce a bill that would strip Section 230 protections from social media companies that don't do enough top prevent the spread of health-related misinformation.