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WhatsApp Steps In To Prevent Fake News

Sun Apr 12 2020

WhatsApp users blocked from forwarding messages

WhatsApp will, as of today, be imposing new restrictions on its users to prevent the spread of fake news on its platform regarding the coronavirus.

The Facebook owned company announced that from now on users will only be able to forward a message to one chat at a time, rather than the current five.

They hope the update will make it more difficult for certain users circulating messages ‘en-masse’ and so help prevent the flood of fake news being spread worldwide via their private messaging app.

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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. We believe it's important to slow the spread of these messages down to keep WhatsApp a place for personal conversation.

WhatsApp Blog Post

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The decision after WhatsApp executives grew concerned over the speed and distance information (in this case fake news) could be spread over their platform. That, combined with their end to end encryption meant they had no control over preventing that spread.

The coronavirus pandemic highlighted the issue with many users feeling panicked over ridiculous stories worldwide.

 

Initially after their launch users were allowed to forward a single message on to as many as 256 contacts with the message not even being marked as forwarded as it currently is.

Back in 2018 WhatsApp announced that they’d be making efforts to cut down on the amount of spam being spread on their network. This led to (last year) forwarded messages being limited to just five people instead of the previous 256 and, according to their internal figures, this led to a slow down of message forwarding as large as 25% globally.

 

Top level WhatsApp executives are now working closely with government agencies, ministries and NGOs around the world to provide people with accurate information on the coronavirus pandemic.

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Our teams are hard at work to keep WhatsApp running reliably during this unprecedented global crisis. We'll continue to listen to your feedback and improve ways for people to share with each other on WhatsApp.

WhatsApp Spokesperson

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Sun Apr 12 2020

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