WhatsApp leading messenger platform currently owned by Facebook had added a limit on frequently forwarded messages to one chat at a time last month. It is estimated that the change has caused a massive 70 percent drop in posts being forwarded, shared, or going viral globally, the micro-blogging platform informed today.
With COVID-19 social distancing in place, everyone is on WhatsApp more than ever to communicate and thus the chance of misinformation or wrong health facts going viral is high.
“WhatsApp is committed to doing our part to tackle viral messages. Since putting into place this new limit, globally there has been a 70 percent reduction in the number of highly forwarded messages sent on WhatsApp,”
In a bid to curb the flow of misinformation in COVID-19 times, Facebook-owned WhatsApp on April 7 stated to introduce a new limit on frequently forwarding messages where a WhatsApp user can forward such messages to one chat at a time. This limit kicks in once a message has been previously forwarded five times or more.
WhatsApp introduced a limit to forwarding to 5 contacts in July 2018 and the move reduced the total number of forwards to 25 percent. The company said it bans two million accounts per month for attempting to send bulk or automated messages.
WhatsApp is working with NGOs and governments, including the World Health Organization (WHO) and over 20 national health ministries, to help connect people with accurate information. It has also announced the WhatsApp Coronavirus Information Hub.