In this day and age, information travels at lightning speed and we become so bombarded with information that sometimes we forget to check and see if what we’re seeing is fact or fiction.
WhatsApp have now heightened security on their popular messaging app by placing new limits on the forwarding of messages. This is largely due to the spread of misinformation during the Covid-19 pandemic. Messages that are “identified as viral” i.e. sent through a chain of five or more people, can only be forwarded to one other person.
Fighting fake news, false political posts, viral pornographic content and other related material
It should be noted that these new measures brought out by WhatsApp aren’t completely recent. Some messages weren’t allowed to be forwarded to more than five people, which has greatly reduced people forwarding the same message. This new measure was created not only to combat misinformation related to COVID-19, but also fake news, false political posts, viral pornographic content and other related material.
So if you find difficulty in forwarding that one fake news message about how helicopters are going to sanitise the entire country, then this will be the reason why.
Here’s what Facebook, owner of WhatsApp, had to say about it:
“…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 wanted the world to know that although their platform helps the spread of misinformation, they’re there to combat it and reduce it as much as possible. Even more so, they promoted a bot made by the World Health Organization that provides information about the disease that has been vetted by healthcare professionals. They even donated $1 million to the International Fact-Checking Network, so it looks like they’re making the right moves.
Do you think this is a good move from WhatsApp? Or will it prevent people from using the app altogether?