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WhatsApp testing feature to let admins delete messages for all: Could it help fight misinformation?

An upcoming WhatsApp feature could allow group admins more control over group chats, allowing them to delete misleading or inappropriate messages for everyone. 

whatsapp, whatsapp news, whatsapp features,WhatsApp could soon allow group admins to delete messages by other members, for everyone. (Express Photo)

WhatsApp groups are great. They bring together multiple users in one channel where everything from messages to media can be shared. However, some messages can be a problem in group chats. Many times, there is plain and simple misinformation being spread through WhatsApp forwards in larger family groups and even groups with friends, neighbours, etc.

But WhatsApp’s upcoming feature will be a handy solution for admins to get rid of unwanted messages in a group. The feature was spotted in WhatsApp beta v2.22.17.12 by WABetaInfo. It is currently rolling out to a small number of testers and could soon come to stable versions. Admin-deleted messages will also be denoted with a bubble stating that the messages was taken down by an admin.

The feature will allow admins to delete messages for everyone in the group. Currently, admins can only delete messages for themselves, just like every other member in the group. Admins and group members can only delete a message for everyone if they sent it themselves. This, however, leaves any problematic messages very visible in the group, for everyone to see.

In cases where someone may have sent inappropriate media in a group, a reply message asking for people to stay clear of it may not be the most effective, as people will often see it after the inappropriate message, in order. WhatsApp’s new feature will prove helpful in such cases, allowing admins to cut down problematic messages/media before other members of the group see/spread it further.

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Here’s how the feature will look like in action. (Image Source: WABetaInfo)

The simple feature could also help with curbing the spread of misinformation in India, where WhatsApp forwards run rampant, spreading fake news on everything from politics to COVID-19. Messages that contain any misleading information, either via text or images and videos, can now be stopped by admins from spreading any further. This of course, doesn’t help groups where even the admins are not fact checkers or those who themselves promote disinformation. But the addition of the feature is a good start for the popular communication platform.

It could also ensure that admins ensure that groups stick to the conversations for which they were started. For instance, admins of a parenting group can make sure that the conversation remains strictly around the topic, instead of veering off into other domains such as politics, etc which can lead to a lot of unnecessary discussions.

Either way, this looks like an interesting feature. Hopefully, WhatsApp will roll it out soon for all users.

First published on: 02-08-2022 at 10:26:25 am
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