WhatsApp is imposing additional restrictions on how often a piece of information is shared on its platform to curb the spread of false information,media outlet TechCrunch reported. Facebook’s instant messaging service says any message that has been retweeted five or more times will now face new restrictions that users cannot forward to multiple contacts at the same time.
A spokesman told TechCrunch that WhatsApp will launch the feature to users around the world on Tuesday. The move builds on WhatsApp’s efforts since last year, when It restricted users from forwarding one message to more than five users at the same time. The service, which has more than 2 billion users, said the move reduced its global traffic by 25 percent.
End-to-end encryption on WhatsApp prevents it from reading the contents of a message, so it relies on the message’s metadata to measure its propagation. “Is all retweets a bad thing?” Of course not,” the company wrote in a blog post. “However, we have seen a significant increase in forwarding, which users tell us can be overwhelming and encourage the spread of disinformation.” We believe it is important to slow the spread of this information in order for WhatsApp to continue to be a forum for personal conversation. “
In recent years, more than a dozen deaths – several of which occurred in WhatsApp’s largest market in India – have been linked to the “viral” spread of false information on Facebook’s services.
In recent weeks, Facebook has taken action and taken a number of steps as countries around the world struggle to cope with the new corona virus pandemic. Last month, the company announced that It was offering Messenger free developer tools to fight COVID-19, and launched an information center at the top of the News Feed to display reliable information prominently.
In addition, the company has partnered with non-profit organizations such as the World Health Organization to set up helplines and has pledged millions of dollars. The World Health Organization’s helpline on Messenger and WhatsApp has reached more than 10 million users a few days after it went live. The Indian government also launched a helpline robot on WhatsApp last month.
But Facebook’s huge influence has also attracted fraudsters. “Unfortunately, scammers may try to exploit people’s vulnerability and generosity during this time,” wrote Stan Chudnovsky, Vice President of Messenger.
WhatsApp has also tested a feature on the beta version of its Android app that allows users to quickly comb through text or videos received on the web for more context.
A spokesman said the platform plans to launch the feature in the near future.