WhatsApp Puts Restriction On Forwarding Messages In Efforts To Combat Fake News

7 April 2020, 11:15

WhatsApp are trying to prevent rumours being spread about the COVID-19 pandemic
WhatsApp are trying to prevent rumours being spread about the COVID-19 pandemic. Picture: PA

WhatsApp is set to put a limit in place to restrict the number of forwarded messages sent about fake coronavirus news.

WhatsApp will put a strict limit on the messages that can be forwarded between users in a bid to stop fake news being spread about the coronavirus outbreak.

The app will block messages that have been ‘frequently forwarded’ to more than five people.

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This doesn’t mean that the message still can’t be forwarded to multiple contacts in a single-use message, it just prevents it from happening in a single click.

Widely forwarded messages have been circulating since the outbreak of COVID-19, with some users spreading false news or advice about the virus.

The new movement will be put in place today, April 7.

In a blog post, the company wrote: "We know many users forward helpful information, as well as funny videos, memes, and reflections or prayers they find meaningful.

"In recent weeks, people have also used WhatsApp to organize public moments of support for frontline health workers.

“However, we’ve seen a significant increase in the amount of forwarding which users have told us can feel overwhelming and can contribute to the spread of misinformation."

WhatsApp are enforcing strict measures to deal with fake chain news
WhatsApp are enforcing strict measures to deal with fake chain news. Picture: WhatsApp

They added: "We believe it’s important to slow the spread of these messages down to keep WhatsApp a place for personal conversation.”

WhatsApp’s forwarded messages were also a topic of discussion recently after CNN reported that the app had been used to spread a number of ‘hoax’ messages about the military as well as ‘cures’ for the coronavirus.

The popular messaging company, which is owned by Facebook, ended up donating $1m to the International Fact-Checking Network as a result of the circulation of fake news.

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