WhatsApp to Combat Fake News

WhatsApp has begun testing new features to combat fake news on its platform, one of the biggest news coming to the Beta version of the application is the alert about suspicious links.

Now, in a move to reduce the spread of fake news, WhatsApp has announced major changes in the limit of message sharing.

The feature is currently being tested and when released will put a limitation to the number of messages that can be forwarded to other contacts, individuals or groups. The intent is to minimize the spread of false news by effectively reducing the messages that can be sent back to their friends. This will especially affect messages containing photos and videos.

In India, the possibility of forwarding messages will be limited to only 5 chats at a time: in the Asian subcontinent, there was an escalation of violence in May (around 25 people lost their lives) caused by fake news spread via Whatsapp.

For this reason, India will be the country most “hit” by the new policy, with the intent that such incidents are not repeated in the future. Not only that, to discourage the use of the Forward feature, the button for fast sharing alongside messages containing multimedia files will also be removed.

The current global limit on WhatsApp forwards is 250 which will now be 20 chats.

Today, we’re launching a test to limit forwarding that will apply to everyone using WhatsApp. In India – where people forward more messages, photos, and videos than any other country in the world – we’ll also test a lower limit of 5 chats at once and we’ll remove the quick forward button next to media messages.

We believe these changes – which we will continue to evaluate – will help keep WhatsApp the way it was designed: a private messaging application.”