WhatsApp has introduced tough measures in a bid to stop sharing of fake news through its platform.
This move comes after a successful pilot meant to reduce forwarded messages which was conducted in India six months ago and will now be implemented to WhatsApp users globally.
WhatsApp has literally made life easier by allowing sending of messages, voice calls, video calls, documents, images, videos, and other media. It also enabled group chats which permitted users to communicate to a larger number of people at once.
Unfortunately, the application came with a number of shortfalls that also allowed other users to spread malicious or fake information. Over the time there have been numerous updated version of the application with a purpose to make it even more convenient to its users and to tackle the issue of the spread of fake news.
Some of the updates include;
1. Limiting forwarding of messages to only five times.
With the latest update, users will only be able to select a maximum of five chats at a go when forwarding messages. Announcing the change on Monday the company believes that some users had abused the platform through spreading of false information which led to the new limit.This will reduce the rate of circulation of the rumors since it will take time before one sends a message to all their contacts.
There have been cases where people have been lynched, killed or hurt because of wrong information posted and circulated on WhatsApp. This update will serve to stop such cases as people will be forced to take time and think before forwarding messages. Hopefully, the annoying, long forwarded messages will also stop.
2. Forwarding label.
In July 2018 the proprietors of the Facebook-owned company introduced labelling of forwarded messages which notify the users that the message is not from an original source.The label also allows the company to gain insight into the number of forwarded messages in order to know how they can filter fake information on the social media platform. Users are now able to asses originality of any news during a chat to avoid falling victims of misinformation. Although there have been very many funny stories of how this label has for example ruined relationship, it has proven its worth in minimising the spread of wrong information.
3. Removal of the quick forward button.
WhatsApp allowed forwarding of messages to a large group of people instantly through the quick forward button placed beside the media file. In addition to the limit of forwarded message, the button has also been removed in an effort to also stop the spread of fake news through videos and audios. Users will now need to follow a longer procedure of long pressing the media and then pressing the forward option to forward videos and audio.