WhatsApp has tightened message forwarding limits restricting users to sharing forwarded content one chat at a time after a jump in messages touting bogus medical advice since the start of the coronavirus crisis.
The pandemic, which has killed more than 70,000 people worldwide, has been accompanied by what the World Health Organization (WHO) has called an “infodemic” of misinformation, prompting governments and other authorities to urge social media companies to do more to combat the problem.
In Ireland, both the Taoiseach Leo Varadkar and the Tánaiste Simon Coveney have warned the public about bogus information being spread through WhatsApp which had the potential to cause a public panic.
WhatsApp, which has more than 2 billion users worldwide, said in a blog post it made the change after observing a “significant increase” in the number of forwards since the start of the coronavirus crisis.
“We believe it’s important to slow the spread of these messages down to keep WhatsApp a place for personal conversation,” the statement said.
A WhatsApp spokesman said the new limit was in place indefinitely.
- Additional reporting Reuters