Facebook is testing a new option that allows users to share a post with multiple groups at once, contradicting past measures to contain misinformation.
Earlier this week, Twitter user @AkramAlodini spotted a new Facebook test that allows users to crosspost posts to multiple Facebook groups at once. Industry commentator Matt Navarra then shared a screenshot of the new feature.
The new crossposting feature would facilitate that same streamlined sharing capacity that Facebook tried to prevent last year by limiting the sharing of misinformation. At the time, WhatsApp limited the number of people one can forward a message to at once to just five.
Facebook is testing a prompt to encourage sharing of posts to multiple groups
— Matt Navarra (@MattNavarra) October 4, 2021
The action was implemented to limit the sheer quantity of misinformation about COVID-related content flooding the app.
More recently, Facebook has implemented further restrictions; all centered around the containment of misinformation. Last month, it revealed that posts containing false or inaccurate content are demoted from appearing on News Feed and even penalized users who repeatedly shared misinforming posts in May.
In September, a new academic study revealed that fake news receives more engagement than official news on Facebook. Six times more, to be precise.
And putting a limit to how easily and how many times a post can be shared at once has demonstrated to be an effective strategy to contain the spread of false (and potentially dangerous) misinformation, as WhatsApp’s experience showed.
“WhatsApp is committed to doing our part in tackling viral messages. Since putting into place the new limit, globally, there has been a 70% reduction in the number of highly forwarded messages sent on WhatsApp. This change is helping keep WhatsApp a place for personal and private conversations,” said a WhatsApp spokesperson at the time.