With a larger study to disseminate disinformation related to the coronavirus pandemic to private message applications, WhatsApp said on Tuesday it would set new limits on how to send new messages.
Beginning today, messages identified as “highly forwarded” – sent via a chain of five or more people – can only be sent to one person. Movements is designed to reduce the speed of moving information through WhatsApp, bringing truth and fiction to an even greater pace.
“We know that many users post useful information, as well as video, fun, and meaningful reflections or prayers. In recent weeks, people have also used WhatsApp to organize public health care for primary health care workers,” the company, which is part of Facebook, said in a blog post. “However, as users have told us, it can be a sign of abuse that can be forwarded to us and can help spread misinformation.
In our view, it is important to slow the spread of these messages to make room for personal WhatsApp conversations.”
For much of Whatsapp’s existence, users were able to easily send a single message to 256 people. Initially, these messages were not tagged any further, and WhatsApp’s end-to-end encryption may be almost impossible for authorities to determine who can use the hate speech or violence app. This led to a crisis in India, Whatsapp linked to mob violence.
In 2018, WhatsApp began experimenting with the amount of time that a message could be forwarded. It also started labeling forwarded messages for the first time, adding two arrows to show that a message was repeatedly forwarded.
Last year, the company started by limiting the number of people you can send from one message to five.
The limit is gentle: nothing prevents you from repeatedly sending different messages to different people. But the introduction of more friction helped slow the rate of overall redirection. Last year’s WhatsApp reports that progress has dropped 25 percent worldwide.
But in the wake of the surge in pandemic use, WhatsApp has stood out for how it can be used to spread misinformation. Last month, CNN and other news outlets found that the application was used to share false information about COVID-19 and “disease” related military disease-related activities.
Irish Prime Minister Leo Varadkar has urged the public to “Please leave WhatsApp sharing information unverified”.
In response, WhatsApp has been promoted by a bot promoted by the World Health Organization, which provides information about the illness seen by healthcare professionals.
The app has been used by over 10 million people. WhatsApp also donated $ 1 million to the International Truth Check Network.