Due to “a significant increase in the number of forwards that, according to some users, can be overwhelming and contribute to the dissemination of erroneous information”, the team responsible for WhatsApp has decided to limit the number of times that a message can be forwarded to other contacts through the platform.
The measure only affects messages that have been identified by the system as highly forwarded. “These messages have a double arrow label that indicates that they were not created by a close contact and, therefore, they are less personal than the typical messages that are sent by WhatsApp,” the company explained in a statement sent to Hipertextual. “We are now setting a limit so that these messages can only be sent to one chat at a time.”
WhatsApp is one of the channels through which the most hoaxes, false news and disinformation are spreading during the coronavirus pandemic (COVID-19), a disease that has caused more than 70,000 deaths and has affected more than a million people. Worldwide.
To combat this situation, WhatsApp claims to be working with NGOs and government institutions such as the World Health Organization “in order to connect people with accurate information.” The platform also refers users to companies such as Newtral or Maldita to verify, through a WhatsApp message, those hoaxes or information of doubtful veracity related to the coronavirus (COVID-19).
This is not the first time that WhatsApp has taken measures against the spread of fake news through its platform. In 2019, the company decided to limit message forwarding globally to a maximum of five people (simultaneously), which resulted in a “25% drop in message forwarding worldwide”, as stated in a official statement.
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