WhatsApp has been making headlines lately, as it has been used primarily in India but also in other countries such as Brazil for spreading fake news. In India, according to the BBC, even several people have been victimized by the mob’s lynching as fake messages were circulated on WhatsApp branding them as child molesters and organ traffickers. WhatsApp has even started a newspaper campaign to curb the problem. In Brazil, in the run-up to the presidential election, fake news turned on voters to vote for right-wing conservative Jair Bolsanaro, the New York Times reports.
Now WhatsApp is trying to narrow the fake news problem further. The number of people to whom messages, images, GIFs and links can be forwarded is reduced from 20 to a maximum of five:
In India, the limit was first implemented, in Germany, however, was initially only beta testers from app version 2.18.385 affected. Users with version 2.18.380 or earlier could continue to forward messages and other content to as many as 20 people. This is no longer possible with the official update to version 2.19.14 on 19 January.
While Europe has less to worry about “fake news” at WhatsApp, the limit also means limiting the chain letter issue. In particular, the younger WhatsApp users can easily be influenced by the testimonials and other dangerous content that is passed on in large numbers.
The company has now recently also been testing a new feature that determines and tell users more details about a forwarded message on how many times it been circulated and passed through. This feature was already in its testing phase from earlier this year and just now recently has been rolling out for many users.
This feature is Whatsapp call to keep users on its platform be more detailed about the messages they receive and re-check its credibility. This feature is launched to fight the spread of misinformation or fake news.