As WhatsApp had earlier announced that it is introducing a limit on the forwarded messages to constrain virality of messages circulating on its platform, a TechCrunch report has now revealed that the Facebook-owned instant messaging app has now registered a 70 percent decrease in the spread of total viral messages forwarded across the globe.
WhatsApp, which had introduced this restriction for all its user on April 7, had said that its users can share the frequently forwarded messages to only one chat at a time. Earlier, these forwarded messages could be sent to five chats at a single go.
In 2019, WhatsApp had unveiled the concept of messages that have been forwarded many times. These messages are labelled with double arrows to indicate they did not originate from a close contact. In effect, these messages are less personal compared to typical messages sent on WhatsApp.
At the time of putting this restriction, WhatsApp had notified that many of its users forward helpful information, as well as funny videos, memes, and reflections or prayers they find meaningful. Besides this, the WhatsApp users had also organised public moments of support for frontline health workers. However, WhatsApp registered a drastic increase in the amount of forwarding that users can feel overwhelming and can contribute to the spread of misinformation. Therefore, WhatsApp thought it’s important to slow the spread of these messages down to keep its platform a place for personal conversation.
Earlier, an official blog post had stated, “WhatsApp cares deeply about the safety of our users in India and around the world. WhatsApp has made significant product changes and worked with partners across civil society, engaged with relevant government authorities and other technology platforms to help address the harmful consequences of misinformation. While there is no single action that can resolve the complex challenges contributing to misinformation, we are committed to helping do our part to ensure that WhatsApp continues to be a force for good in India.”
In addition to this, WhatsApp has also directly collaborated with NGOs and governments, including the World Health Organization (WHO) and over 20 national health ministries, to help connect people with accurate information. Together, these trusted authorities have sent hundreds of millions of messages directly to people requesting information and advice.
Meanwhile, WhatsApp users can learn more about these efforts, as well as how to submit potential myths, hoaxes and rumours to fact checking organizations, on our Coronavirus Information Hub.
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