We all have one or the other person among our friends, family or colleagues, who keeps spamming us with various forward messages on WhatsApp groups. At times the spam continues all the way to your personal chats.
In order to avoid these spam or misinformed messages, Facebook’s WhatsApp has decided to cut down the number of times a particular message could be forwarded. As of now, WhatsApp is considering this as a trial.
Here’s more detail on WhatsApp’s Forward Messages Strategy –
Earlier, WhatsApp had announced about the labels which were introduced to indicate if the messages were forwarded or not. The basic motto behind that decision was to avoid the further rotation of rumours or spam messages.
But this made not much of a difference. Hence, WhatsApp came up with an even better strategy.
Initially the messages could be forwarded to about 250 groups/people at once. But now, the users could only send the forward messages to just about 20 groups/people. This remains the case globally except for India.
India is currently the largest market for WhatsApp, with over 200 million users. Due to the growing rumours, spams, as well as deaths, WhatsApp has further reduced the number to just 5 groups/people.
Another interesting announcement is that they are removing the “quick forward” option in India. This was an easy way to forward your photos or videos. Unfortunately, it seems like the Indian users would miss out on that as well.
More Insight –
WhatsApp says the following about their announcement on their blog post, –
“Today, we’re launching a test to limit forwarding that will apply to everyone using WhatsApp. In India – where people forward more messages, photos, and videos than any other country in the world – we’ll also test a lower limit of 5 chats at once and we’ll remove the quick forward button next to media messages.
We believe that these changes — which we’ll continue to evaluate — will help keep WhatsApp the way it was designed to be: a private messaging app.”
What was the cause?
The reason why WhatsApp has taken this drastic step is quite simple and reasonable. The forward messages were clearly not true but they were going viral. There were many cases which involved harassment of certain people. At times, it also included the death of a person, especially in India.
“The BBC recently wrote about an incident which saw one man dead and two others severely beaten after rumours of their efforts to abduct children from a village spread on WhatsApp. Reportedly 17 other people have been killed in the past year under similar circumstances, with police saying false rumours had spread via WhatsApp.
Also, Times Internet today reports that Facebook and WhatsApp plan to introduce a fake news verification system, used recently in Mexico, to help combat spam messages and the spreading of incorrect news and information. The paper said that the companies have already held talks with India’s Election Commission.”
Nobody is sure how this might work out. But it’s indeed a good way to avoid any more violence in countries like India. Hence, one could only wish for the best.