WhatsApp has introduced new limits on message forwarding in an attempt to stop the spread of misinformation surrounding the coronavirus outbreak. This means you can now only forward a message you’ve received onto one chat at a time.
WhatsApp Tries to Stop the Spread of Misinformation
In January 2019, WhatsApp introduced limits on how messages could be forwarded on. This was an attempt to fight fake news and prevent the spread of misinformation . Originally, messages could be forwarded onto 20 people, but this was reduced to five.
This limit were initially instituted in India after misinformation spread via WhatsApp led to lynchings. WhatsApp then rolled the limitations out worldwide to help fight fake news in general. However, the COVID-19 pandemic has led to a new wave of misinformation.
Help to Stop the Spread of COVID-19 Misinformation
In a post on the WhatsApp Blog, WhatsApp explained that due to lockdowns in place in various countries, people are relying more on messaging apps to keep in touch with family and friends than ever before. Unfortunately, that’s also helping misinformation spread.
In order to combat that spread, WhatsApp is identifying messages that have been forwarded many times (which are labelled with double arrows). It’s then “introducing a limit so that these messages can only be forwarded to one chat at a time.”
Within minutes, fake news shared on WhatsApp can reach millions
Stop and think twice before forwarding coronavirus advice
— BBC News (World) (@BBCWorld) April 3, 2020
The idea is to stop people forwarding messages onto multiple chats at once, which they do without checking the veracity of said message. WhatsApp makes it clear that not all forwarding is bad, but it clearly doesn’t want to contribute to the spread of misinformation.
Sites You Can Trust for Information About Coronavirus
In a way this mirrors the way we’re all trying to stop the spread of COVID-19 itself. By only allowing you to forward a message onto one person at a time, WhatsApp hopes to slow the spread of misinformation surrounding the disease to prevent everyone from seeing it.
There will be some people reading this who think they know the truth about COVID-19. The problem is often where people get their information from. With that in mind, we compiled a list of websites you can trust for reliable information about the coronavirus .
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