Facebook is introducing a forwarding limit for Messenger to fight the spread of “viral misinformation” on its platform. The new forwarding limit is identical to the limit imposed on WhatsApp in April and prevents users from sharing a message with more than five people or groups at a time.
Forwarding chains are popular on Facebook, especially among middle-aged and senior users. And while forwarding chains and group chats can help bring people together or share news, they can also function like disinformation superhighways. Outdated news, conspiracy theories, and bogus medical information are common problems for Facebook, and this information often spreads through viral forwarding campaigns on Messenger.
Facebook wants to slow the spread of misinformation without imposing harsh rules on its users. That’s why the new forwarding limit is so light—it’s just an annoyance to deter people from excessive message forwarding. But like Facebook’s “This Article Is 3 Months Old” prompts, the forwarding limit should keep average users from contributing to misinformation campaigns.
For more info on misinformation campaigns, Facebook suggests logging into its Coronavirus Community Hub and 2020 Voting Information Center. These pages provide up-to-date information on the COVID-19 pandemic and the 2020 election, alongside info on how to spot misinformation campaigns and links to help you vote.