By Arré Bench Apr. 07, 2020
To curb the spread of misinformation during the coronavirus pandemic, WhatsApp is introducing new limits on forwarding messages. Starting today, users can forward messages to only one chat at a time.
If you’re fed up of people forwarding NASA’s India image from “diya night” on WhatsApp, or how the sound generated from our collective clapping can defeat coronavirus, there is good news for you.
In order to curb the spread of misinformation during the coronavirus pandemic, WhatsApp is introducing new limits on forwarding messages.
— Reuters (@Reuters) April 7, 2020
Starting today, users can forward messages to only one chat at a time. The move is to curb misinformation during the pandemic, it said in a blog post.
Facebook's WhatsApp limits message forwarding to slow spread of coronavirus misinformation https://t.co/lTpQhSyrCk by @katielpaul $FB Follow our live blog for the latest updates on the coronavirus: https://t.co/3o3QE3l6RG pic.twitter.com/RNM1euiEEk
— Reuters Business (@ReutersBiz) April 7, 2020
The change doesn’t stop people from forwarding a message to multiple users individually or copy pasting the message and then sending it, but it is still expected to cause a significant dent to the spread of hoaxes and fake news.
“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 to keep WhatsApp a place for personal conversation,” WhatsApp said in a blog post.
— vonteddureddy7 (@vonteddureddy7) April 7, 2020
Ever since the coronavirus pandemic has broken out, journalists, fact checkers and even government institutions have been kept busy with the tsunami of misinformation on the platform, that hosts over a billion users.
Don't fall for the rumours/unscientific reasoning on the appeal for lightning Diya/candles/flash/torch on 5th April at 9pm.
This initiative is to show solidarity and confidence in our collective fight against #Covid19
— PIB Fact Check (@PIBFactCheck) April 3, 2020
WhatsApp also added in its statement that, “In addition to this change, we are working directly with NGOs and governments, including the World Health Organization and over 20 national health ministries, to help connect people with accurate information. You can learn more about these efforts, as well as how to submit potential myths, hoaxes and rumors to fact-checking organizations, on our Coronavirus Information Hub.”
WhatsApp has announced today it is imposing new limits on forwarding messages in order to fight fake news & myths about #coronavirus. The Facebook-owned chat app says it will be working directly with NGOs, governments & WHO to help connect people with accurate information. pic.twitter.com/Ot42JFYapv
— Farhan Jimale (@farhanjimale) April 7, 2020
While we fight the coronavirus pandemic together, it is also important to fight the fake news epidemic and let knowledge guide us. We can do our tiny bit by pointing out false information that we see in our family and office WhatsApp groups. No, the sound waves from our clapping oor the simultaneous lighting of diyas is not going to kill the virus.