Facebook is making another change to Messenger in an effort to restrain the spread of misinformation and harmful content. The company announced today that it is limiting the number of people or groups you can forward a message to via Messenger.
With the latest change, you can now forward messages to only up to five people or groups at a time, similar to the forwarding limit Facebook introduced to WhatsApp early last year in order to curb the spread of false news. Jay Sullivan, Director of Product Management, Messenger Privacy and Safety, wrote in a blog post:
"Limiting forwarding is an effective way to slow the spread of viral misinformation and harmful content that has the potential to cause real world harm.
"We believe controlling the spread of misinformation is critical as the global COVID-19 pandemic continues and we head toward major elections in the US, New Zealand and other countries."
The restriction is the latest step taken by the social networking giant as it combats misinformation on the platform, especially amid the COVID-19 pandemic and as elections worldwide inch closer. In June, it started warning users if they shared articles that were more than three months old. Earlier than that, Facebook introduced a way for people to see messages in their News Feed if they previously interacted with false news related to COVID-19. It remains to be seen how forwarding limit can help fight the spread of this type of content.