In these crazy times, apart from fear and panic, another major issue that has severely affected the public is misinformation. Now and then, people receive one or the other message, picture, stats, data, fact (at times, false), or remedy regarding COVID-19. And, the key mediums through which these messages spread unchecked is social media. WhatsApp has now taken another bold step to contain the chaos. As revealed, WhatsApp now restricts forward messages to limit the spread of false information.
WhatsApp Restricts Forward Messages
In a recent post, WhatsApp has announced plans to limit the spread of unchecked facts and details amidst the COVID-19 pandemic. As explained, WhatsApp now restricts sending forward messages to contain misinformation regarding the global menace.
According to their post, WhatsApp has taken this step to encourage personal conversation on WhatsApp whilst limiting misinformation.
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 has already introduced a similar limitation in the past to curb fake news. After achieving meaningful results in India, in 2019, the tech giant implemented a similar limitation of 5 messages globally.
However, it seems this limitation is of no good today as people keep forwarding various messages regarding the pandemic without verification. Hence, WhatsApp has now limited sending forward messages to one user only.
We are now introducing a limit so that these messages can only be forwarded to one chat at a time.
Other Steps To Curb COVID-19 Misinformation
Apart from this change, WhatsApp is also actively taking other measures to ensure the spread of correct and useful information. For this, they have collaborated with various entities to help connect the public.
We are working directly with NGOs and governments, including the World Health Organization and over 20 national health ministries, to help connect people with accurate information.
As evident through their website, various Fact Checking organizations globally have also joined WhatsApp to fight back fake news. People can connect with these organizations to verify any news they receive on social media regarding the pandemic.