Facebook Messenger may ban mass-forwarding of messages

Facebook may mass-forwarding of in an effort to lasso the runaway forwarding of COVID-19 fake news and rumors, it confirmed on Sunday.

Facebook has done this before when its other messaging services have gone berserk with forwarding hysterical misinformation – misinformation that led to people getting lynched in the fake-news crisis that seized India, Myanmar and Sri Lanka in 2018.

India was torn apart as rumors spread virally on social media sparked dozens of mob lynchings. Over the period of 18 months, 33 people were killed and at least 99 injured in 69 reported lynchings. At least 18 of those incidents were specifically linked to WhatsApp.

In July 2018, the Facebook-owned company said that it would limit forwarding to everyone using WhatsApp, with the limit being most restrictive in India, where people forward more messages, photos and videos than any other country in the world. In India, WhatsApp tested a lower limit of 5 chats at once and removed quick-forward button next to media messages. WhatsApp also imposed a larger limit globally of 20 recipients.

In January 2019, WhatsApp applied the lower limit of five forwarded chats on a global scale.

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