As the world continues to battle the coronavirus pandemic on a global scale, another battle is being fought by people on the digital scale: misinformation or fake news. WhatsApp has been the preferred means of communication by many during these stressful times.
However, that has also given rise to misinformation being spread on the platform. WhatsApp, on 7 April, in a statement announced that it is introducing limits on these forwarded messages in a bid to slow down the spread of misinformation.
Once a user receives a frequently forwarded message (a message that has been forwarded five times), they can only forward it to a single chat at a time.
This is a way in which WhatsApp hopes to flatten the curve of misinformation. The app has been infamous for the spread of misinformation as viral messages claiming magic cures and whatnot have been forwarded by users.
Various state governments also introduced three-year imprisonment for users forwarding fake news on WhatsApp.
In January 2019, WhatsApp had set a global limit on frequently forwarded messages and started showing the forwarded icon on these texts. The company recently also reduced the maximum permitted duration for videos to be uploaded onto stories, with a maximum time period of 15 seconds.
It also announced the WhatsApp Coronavirus Information Hub in collaboration with the World Health Organization, UNICEF, and UNDP.