WhatsApp’s recent cap limiting frequently-forwarded messages from being sent to more than one person at a time seems to be slowing down the virality of these posts. WhatsApp has informed the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology (MeitY) that the move has reduced “highly forwarded messages” by 70 per cent, it is learnt.
In early April, MeitY had asked TikTok, Helo, and Facebook to send across daily reports detailing the measures they have taken to prevent the spread of misinformation on their platform.
Nearly two weeks after it introduced this new cap of frequently forwarded messages, a WhatsApp Spokesperson said: “Since putting into place this new limit, globally there has been a 70 per cent reduction in the number of highly forwarded messages sent on WhatsApp. This change is helping keep WhatsApp a place for personal and private conversations.” The new feature limits the sharing of “highly forwarded messages” to just one chat.
The Facebook-owned instant messaging platform has also partnered with the International Fact-Checking Network (IFCN) to help users double-check any information directly with any of the 12 IFCN’s partner organisations including AFP, Alt News, Boom, Digit Eye, Fact Crescendo, among others. Users can simply get in touch with IFCN’s partner directly if they aren’t sure about the information received on WhatsApp.
The 70 per cent plunge in highly forwarded messages means the spread of misinformation related to sensitive issues such as coronavirus pandemic has reduced compared to the last few months. This also means that most messages you receive on WhatsApp are highly likely to be authentic. However, re-checking all forwarded messages with official government announcements is still important.
WhatsApp recently announced that it has taken down over 2 million accounts per month globally several accounts showing suspicious behaviour. It uses artificial intelligence to identify these profiles. Facebook and Twitter have also taken measures to display authentic information at the top of every user profile so they can first get the official announcements and not trust any unverified information available on the platform.