Social Media

Facebook to limit forwards on Facebook Messenger in a bid to curb misinformation amid COVID-19 pandemic

Hemani Sheth | Updated on March 25, 2020 Published on March 25, 2020

File Photo   -  Reuters

Facebook is working on a new feature aimed at curbing the spread of misinformation on Facebook Messenger amid the global coronavirus pandemic.

The feature will limit the number of forwarded messages on the platform to five chats at a time.

The tech giant had earlier introduced a similar feature on its messaging platform, WhatsApp, which bars users from forwarding a message to more than five chats at a time. The feature was first discovered by reverse engineer Jane Manchun Wong.

“Facebook Messenger is working on limiting the amount of threads a message can be forwarded at a time, in order to add frictions on misinformation,” Wong had tweeted.

“Facebook said they're putting efforts on fighting misinformation on their platforms, especially with this pandemic, and are exploring various ways to do so, like this one,” she further said.

It was then confirmed by Facebook’s EMEA Communications Manager, Alexandru Voica, who said the feature was currently being tested internally.

“We're working hard to limit the spread of misinfo on our platforms, especially with #COVID19, and we’re exploring more options like testing stricter limits for how many chats you can fwd a message to at one time. This feature is still in development and not testing externally yet,” Voica tweeted.

Multiple social media platforms, including Facebook, have been working to eliminate misinformation on their platforms.

Facebook has introduced an information hub at the top of the newsfeed to provide information on the pandemic from credible resources.

Furthermore, Facebook-owned messaging platform WhatsApp recently donated $1 million to the International Fact-Checking Network to support fact-checking for the #CoronaVirusFacts Alliance, to report rumours that may be circulating on various messaging services, including WhatsApp or SMS.

Twitter, for instance, is clamping down on tweets related to COVID-19 hoaxes and tips from “experts” that put people at risk of transmission, by updating its policies last week.

The company will ban all tweets spreading information related to fake cures or posts that could incite panic and hinder official efforts to counter the pandemic, it said in an official statement.

Suggested keywords: Facebook, WhatsApp, social media, misinformation, COVID 19

Published on March 25, 2020

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