The times are tough, coronavirus is keeping a large section of the population either under lock-down or in isolation. Such a time calls for more time spent on one’s smartphone, and for those that love to chat, more time on the messaging apps. But there is a lot of misinformation that is shared across these platforms, especially on WhatsApp.
So, in a bid to fight the spread of fake news, especially on the coronavirus, WhatsApp has introduced new measures regarding how much you forward a message you have received.
The new rule is that if you receive a frequently forwarded message, which has been forwarded more than five times and has on it a double arrow icon, you’ll only be able to forward them on to one chat at a time.
WhatsApp says that there has been a noticeable increase in the number of forwarded messages on the platform, and the continued spread of misinformation is highly attributed to it. In a blog post, the company states that it believes it is “important to slow the spread of these messages down to keep WhatsApp a place for personal conversation”.
We have to recall that WhatsApp and its parent company Facebook were accused of being the centre for the spread of misinformation during violence in India in 2018, and this forced the company to limit the number of times a message could be forwarded from 20 to five.
However, one can only wonder whether the new regulations will really stop the spread of fake news entirely. Even with the previous limitation of 5, users would find ways of going over the rules by rebuilding media or simply copying and pasting message text in order to forward it.
Early last year, Facebook also revealed plans to control the spread of fake news on its platforms ahead of many elections across Africa.
Read About: 5G and coronavirus conspiracies and theories