WhatsApp had recently implemented restrictions on message forwarding and now has noted that there has been a 70% reduction in the spread of forwarded messages on the app, which has also resulted in the reduction of fake news.
According to Whatsapp:
"WhatsApp is committed to doing our part in tackling viral messages. Since putting into place the new limit, globally, there has been a 70% reduction in the number of highly forwarded messages sent on WhatsApp. This change is helping keep WhatsApp a place for personal and private conversations."
In January, Whatsapp had limited message forwarding to five times for a single message and introduced some more strict measures earlier this month. In response to the spread of false news related to COVID-19 in the app, WhatsApp started labeling highly forwarded messages with double arrows so people get the idea that they didn't originate from close contact. Such messages can only be forwarded to one chat at a time.
WhatsApp has a huge number of daily users and especially in developing parts of the world, due to its end-to-end encryption feature it is even harder to control and monitor the content that is being shared in chats. And now these restrictions have had a major impact as noted.
Many reports highlighted WhatsApp as the main source of coronavirus related misinformation. Recently authorities have debunked WhatsApp messages that suggested that "there will be a rise of cases in children" and that "the government will start monitoring phonecalls". Such fake messages have reduced but they are still out there and therefore strict measures by WhatsApp are important.
It is applaudable to see social media platforms taking measures for avoiding the spread of misinformation during the pandemic in order to avoid chaos and to curb the spread of the virus.