Facebook is putting a forward message limit on the Messenger app to curb down misinformation and propaganda

Facebook Messenger has recently put a limit on forwarding messages. Now, one message can be forwarded to maximum five people or groups at a time only. This step has been taken to limit the spread of misinformation and propaganda that can bring potential harm to the lives of people.

In 2018, Facebook put this limit on forwarded messages on WhatsApp messenger in India, which later, in 2019 rolled out for the rest of the world too. In April 2020, WhatsApp further narrowed down the limit of frequently forwarded messages to one chat at a time. This was propelled by the misinformation that was spreading like wildfire amidst the coronavirus pandemic. There were messages and posts across all platforms that were spreading false news about the novel virus, and some ‘other-worldly’ remedies for COVID-19. These pieces of falsified news were proving to be almost as dangerous as the disease itself was, and it was a good decision to put a limit on forwarded messages on WhatsApp messenger. Facebook added new privacy features in its Messenger app on iOS devices recently.

So, it is good to see that this limit has finally been added to the Messenger app for other users too. Now, one message cannot be forwarded to multiple people or groups. It can only be sent to five people or groups at a time. If you try to add more users to your forwarding list, the app will show you a notification that you have reached your forward limit.

Director of Product Management, Messenger Privacy and Safety Jay Sullivan has called it a much-needed call of the hour to slow down the spread of viral misinformation and fake news that can potentially harm the world. This is not necessarily pointing towards the misinformation about COVID-19, but it includes all types of propaganda that people are so fond of spreading and propagating without ever looking into the truth of the matter.

Facebook began testing this feature a while ago, and it was first spotted in beta testing in March. But now, Facebook has officially rolled out the limiting feature for certain countries. However, it will be made available for global users from September 24th.

This feature and several others related to privacy and security of the users are coming up on Facebook, and interestingly, all these changes are coming just before major elections in the US and New Zealand.



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