WhatsApp testing a feature for group administrators to disallow sending frequently forwarded messages in groups
In an effort to combat fake news, WhatsApp has taken a series of slow and steady steps to make its humongous user base aware of the problem. This is itself a sizable task, considering that the app’s user base tops 1.5 billion monthly users. The company started off on this path by publishing full-page advertisements in Indian newspapers last year. Then, a new restriction was added to limit forwarding messages in India to a maximum of five times. In March, this limitation was activated globally. Forwarded messages are now clearly labelled as such. These efforts were only the beginning, and to its credit, the company has kept working in this area. To that end, the company has recently partnered up with an Indian startup to launch a fact check service.
A new concept of Frequently Forwarded Messages and Forwarding Info was in testing in WhatsApp beta 2.19.80, which let users see how many times a message had been forwarded, and which allowed users to distinguish between forwarded messages and frequently forwarded messages. Frequently forwarded messages are messages that have been forwarded five times.
This information is helpful in itself, and it was enabled in WhatsApp for Android beta 2.19.86. Now, in the latest WhatsApp beta, version 2.19.97, the company is testing another feature for group administrators to stop users sending frequently forwarded messages in groups. This feature is not available for use yet, as it’s still in testing. In the future, it will be available in Group Settings, and the option will be visible only for administrators. Administrators can choose whether to use the feature or not, as it can be kept disabled. When it’s enabled, group members will not be able to send frequently forwarded messages in the group. (They can still choose to copy the frequently forwarded message and send it as a new message, as WABetaInfo notes.)
Currently, WABetaInfo found that WhatsApp is testing this feature in the Android version of the app, while no such traces have been found so far in the iOS version.
WhatsApp beta 2.19.97 also completes the roll out of the new audio picker feature in the app. This was selectively rolled out starting with the 2.19.89 beta update, and it has been in testing since January. The new audio picker has a redesigned UI, and users can now play the audio and preview its image (if available) before sending it. Finally, the number of audio files that can be selected at once has been increased to a maximum of 30.