Facebook Inc's (FB.O) WhatsApp tightened message forwarding limits on Tuesday, restricting users to sharing forwarded content one chat at a time after a jump in messages touting bogus medical advice since the start of the coronavirus crisis.
The pandemic, which has killed more than 70,000 people worldwide, has been accompanied by what the World Health Organization (WHO) has called an "infodemic" of misinformation, prompting governments and other authorities to urge social media companies to do more to combat the problem.
WhatsApp, which has more than 2 billion users worldwide, said in a blog post it made the change after observing a "significant increase" in the number of forwards since the start of the coronavirus crisis.
That allows groups of hundreds of people to exchange texts, photos and videos, with no way to monitor the messages' origin or full reach.
WhatsApp said in its blog post that the previous limits set on forwards led to a 25% decrease in such messages.
The app also encourages people to flag suspicious content to fact checking organizations and has enabled the WHO and national health authorities to share reliable information about the new coronavirus on the service using automated accounts.