This WhatsApp Feature Has Apparently Reduced Spread of Possible Fake News By 70%

WhatsApp self-disappearing messages
Image courtesy BBC

WhatsApp considers any message forwarded more than five times as “highly forwarded” messages. With the idea to reduce the spread of misinformation spread on the app, the company recently rolled out a new feature. WhatsApp now limits forwards to only one contact at a time. This move comes amid the coronavirus crisis and it seems to be paying off.

Reduction In WhatsApp Forwarded Messages

After announcing the feature, the company says this move already has a positive impact on its service. In just two weeks, WhatsApp says it has seen a 70% reduction in the number of highly forwarded messages:

WhatsApp is committed to doing our part to tackle viral messages. We recently introduced a limit to sharing “highly forwarded messages” to just one chat. Since putting into place this new limit, globally there has been a 70% reduction in the number of highly forwarded messages sent on WhatsApp. This change is helping keep WhatsApp a place for personal and private conversations.

In 2018, WhatsApp first introduced a limit on the number of people you can send that message to in one go. In India, the limit was five people at a time at the launch, which was rolled out worldwide later. The company said this change brought down forwards by 25% at that time. Around the same time, they enabled a feature where you could see if a message had been forwarded or not.

As the chats on the app are encrypted end-to-end, it’s hard to track how much impact these steps might have on the spread of misinformation worldwide. But it’ll expectedly discourage people to send suspicious messages to a bunch of folks in one go.

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