WhatsApp is found to be working on a new limit for sharing forwarded messages in group chats to restrict users from spreading fake news and misinformation. The new development has been spotted in beta testing on both Android and iOS and is apparently aimed to prevent users from sending forwarded messages to not more than one group chat at a time. Separately, WhatsApp has been spotted introducing a dedicated Communities tab that would replace the existing Camera tab on iOS. The messaging app is also seen testing an updated camera interface for Android users.
According to a report by WhatsApp beta tracker WABetaInfo, WhatsApp for iOS beta version 18.104.22.168 carries the limitation that prevents users from sending forwarded messages to not more than one group chat at a time. The app shows a notice that suggests the limitation, as seen in a screenshot shared by the publication.
In addition to iOS, WhatsApp is said to be testing the new forwarded message limitation on Android. It was first spotted on WhatsApp for Android beta version 22.214.171.124 last month. The restriction is also said to be in place for users on WhatsApp for Android beta 126.96.36.199.
Forwarded messages have often been considered as a primary source to spread fake news and misinformation. The new update is, therefore, likely to help put a limit at those ends.
It is important to note that the limitation will only apply to messages that are already forwarded by users. This means that it will not impact the messages that you have sent on the app.
In 2020, WhatsApp reduced the count of allowing the sharing of frequently forwarded messages to one chat at a time to reduce misleading information on its platform. Frequently forwarded messages are, however, the ones that are forwarded five times or more.
For regular forwarded messages, WhatsApp restricts them to up to five chats at a time.
The ongoing measures did help slow disinformation to some extent, as per some research. However, the mechanism of restricting forwarded message sharing on WhatsApp is not foolproof as users can still be able to forward frequently forwarded messages by copying and pasting their text.
Exact details on when the new restriction will come into force for end users are not available at this moment. WhatsApp may also make certain changes in the meantime as the update is currently meant for beta testing purposes.
Gadgets 360 has reached out to WhatsApp for a comment on the development and will update this article when the company responds.
Communities have been in testing on WhatsApp for some time. The purpose of the new feature is said to bring related groups together and help group admins manage their groups from a single place.
WhatsApp has also been spotted working on the new camera interface for Android users. It has been in testing on WhatsApp for Android beta version 188.8.131.52, as reported by WABetaInfo.
A couple of screenshots shared by the publication suggest that the interface would include a new media picker with tabs for recent photos and gallery. The camera’s media bar, which was removed in iOS, is also found to be restored as a part of the update.
WhatsApp is said to have rolled out the changes for some beta testers initially, though others are likely to see the update in the coming weeks. It is, however, unclear whether WhatsApp will be able to roll out the beta testing experience for its end users at any time soon.
Last week, WhatsApp updated its voice message experience with a list of new features, including out of chat playback and the ability to pick up voice messages where you left off. The Facebook-owned app was also recently spotted testing its ‘View Once’ feature for Windows users.