Recently, WhatsApp has limited the a frequently forwarded messages to fight the menace of Fake messages. Read on to know more about it…
Facebook has informed the Indian government that highly forwarded messages of WhatsApp have reduced after FaceBook further limited the number of times people can send such messages. WhatsApp limited the number of times a frequently forwarded message can be sent further to only one chat at a time. This resulted in 70% plunge in viral forwarded messages globally.
An official at the Ministry of electronics and information technology (MeitY) confirmed they had been informed and said: “WhatsApp is saying that their limit of one per forward for viral messages has brought down the spread of such messages.” Earlier this month, WhatsApp limited the number of times a frequently forwarded message can be sent further to only one chat at a time. This limit kicks in once a message has been previously forwarded five times or more.
A WhatsApp spokesperson said that “WhatsApp is committed to doing our part in tackling viral messages.”, “Since putting into place the new limit, globally, there has been a 70 per cent reduction in the number of highly forwarded messages sent on WhatsApp.” and added “This change is helping keep WhatsApp a place for personal and private conversations,”
War on Fake News/Messages
The government of India had raised concerns about a fresh spate of fake messages and forwards pertaining to the COVID-19 pandemic. Information Technology Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad has time and again called upon social media firms to deal responsibly with misinformation.
Earlier this month, in a letter written to TikTok, Helo, and Facebook, MeitY had asked for daily reports to be submitted by the platforms detailing the measures they were taking to prevent the spread of misinformation. The requirement for daily reports was supposed to be in place for a few days in light of the misinformation being spread related to the COVID-19 pandemic.
In its fight against Fake News — WhataApp has a partnership with the International Fact-Checking Network (IFCN), as part of which users can double-check any information directly with IFCN’s partner organisations. In India, IFCN has at least 12 fact-checking partners, the highest in any other country.
If WhatsApp users are not sure about the information they receive in WhatsApp, they can get in touch with any of these organisations through numbers provided on WhatsApp’s website. These fact-checking organisations include AFP, Alt News, Boom, Digit Eye, Fact Crescendo, India Today, Newschecker, Newsmobile and Vishvas News.
WhatsApp, which has over 400 million users in India, has also acknowledged reports that it is working on a way to allow users to find out more information around messages that may be spreading misinformation and are being shared multiple times by users. In a whitepaper released last year, WhatsApp said it uses artificial intelligence to identify suspicious behaviour from accounts. It removes over 2 million accounts per month globally for bulk or automated behaviour.
As part of their efforts to help disseminate authentic information about coronavirus and COVID-19, WhatsApp and other platforms are working with agencies and governments globally and in India. In India, WhatsApp launched the MyGov Corona Helpdesk on the service in partnership with the Indian government’s crowdsourced ideas platform.