Highly forwarded messages on WhatsApp have reduced to 70 percent since the messaging platform introduced a cap on forwarded messages a couple of weeks back, a report by Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology (MeitY) has shown. The report comes as social media platforms such as Facebook and WhatsApp have been trying to curb fake news and misinformation regarding COVID-19.
The update came on WhatsApp a couple of weeks back where users are not allowed to forward messages to more than one contact. Once a WhatsApp message has previously been forwarded five times or more, the forwarding feature gets restricted.
“Since putting into place this new limit, globally there has been a 70 per cent 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 representative
Among other measures, WhatsApp has also partnered with International Fact-Checking Network (IFCN) to help users verify fake news. The popular instant messenger has also shared a list of official numbers that can be contacted on WhatsApp to help verify fake and authentic news. WhatsApp has also recently taken down as many as 2 million accounts exhibiting suspicious behaviour.
War against fake news
pic.twitter.com/4EmHQx5H4jApril 5, 2020
Despite all these efforts, more measures might be needed to stop rumours. Users can make workarounds against such features by making groups or just messaging people separately.
A case in point is the fake message claiming to be from the WHO that went viral recently stating that the lockdown will be extended until June. Even celebrities such as Amitabh Bachchan have fallen prey to fake news on social media. The Bollywood star was recently trolled for a tweet showing how the entire country was ‘lit up’ with lamps and candles for the #9pm9minutes drive.