It’s interesting that at a time when Facebook is being accused of favoring its own growth over the public good, when it’s being scrutinized over the ways in which it facilitates the amplification of misinformation. It’s interesting that, amid all of this, the platform is still testing new options that would essentially enable exactly this type of behavior.

Today, user @AkramAlodini has shared this image of a new Facebook test which would enable users to share a post into multiple Facebook groups at once.

Facebook group sharing

As you can see in this screenshot (shared by Matt Navarra), the new option would enable Facebook users to crosspost an update into multiple groups that they’re a member of, which would facilitate more streamlined sharing, and ideally, for Facebook at least, get more people sharing more content into more groups, more often.

Isn’t this the precise behavior that WhatsApp aimed to curtail last year when it imposed new limits on how many times users may re-share messages?

WhatsApp limited message sharing to five times per message in January of last year in attempt to curb the spread of disinformation in the platform, particularly COVID conspiracy material. In order to minimize the capability for exploitation of its network, WhatsApp eventually added even stricter message forwarding restrictions.

WhatsApp claims that this strategy has been quite successful:

“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.”

As a result, WhatsApp, which is owned by Facebook, has essentially conceded that limiting the number of times a message may be shared, particularly in group chats, can have a significant influence on curbing the spread of disinformation. But now it’s aiming to make that particular feature available on Facebook?

It appears to be a conflict, which corresponds to Facebook whistleblower Frances Haugen’s belief that the business will prioritize “its own interests, such as earning more money,” over the public good.

Sure, it’s a modest example, and there’s no denying that being able to publish a Facebook post to many groups at once has its advantages, especially if you’re passionate about a certain topic or interest and participate in multiple communities.

However, given the WhatsApp example, it appears to be a strange test.

In any case, it looks that Facebook is putting it to the test. We’ve reached out to Facebook for further information on the experiment, and we’ll update this story as soon as we get it.