The Facebook-owned instant messaging service, WhatsApp is limiting frequently forwarded messages to one chat a time in order to curb the spread of fake information related to novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.
WhatsApp has been rolling out new features for forwarded messages to counter the spread of misinformation. The latest update limits sending frequently forwarded messages to only one chat at a time. The frequently forwarded messages are indicated with a double tick on top on WhatsApp.
“With billions of people unable to see their friends and family in person due to COVID-19, people are relying on WhatsApp more than ever to communicate. People are talking to doctors, teachers, and isolated loved ones via WhatsApp during this crisis. That’s why all your messages and calls on WhatsApp are end-to-end encrypted by default to give you a secure place for your most personal conversations,” WhatsApp said.
It added, “Last year we introduced users to the concept of messages that have been forwarded many times. These messages are labelled with double arrows to indicate they did not originate from a close contact. In effect, these messages are less personal compared to typical messages sent on WhatsApp. We are now introducing a limit so that these messages can only be forwarded to one chat at a time. “
WhatsApp earlier let users send frequently forwarded messages to a maximum of five chats. This led to a 25 per cent decrease in message forwards globally at the time on the platform, WhatsApp said.
The company said that it working directly with NGOs and governments, including the World Health Organization and over 20 national health ministries, to help connect people with accurate information on COVID-19.
“We’ve seen a significant increase in the amount of forwarding which users have told us can feel overwhelming and can contribute to the spread of misinformation. We believe it’s important to slow the spread of these messages down to keep WhatsApp a place for personal conversation,” WhatsApp said.
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