A couple of weeks ago, WhatsApp made some changes to help slow the spread of misinformation through their app. Those changes meant that messages already forwarded heavily or originating outside your contacts could only be forwarded to one other user. In a discussion with Techcrunch, the messaging giant now claims a 70% reduction in “highly forwarded” messages.
We recently introduced a limit to sharing ‘highly forwarded messages’ to just one chat. Since putting into place this new limit, globally there has been a 70% reduction in the number of highly forwarded messages sent on WhatsApp.
Due to the huge number of messages conveyed through the app daily and encryption, there’s no way to confirm the content of these. What it does mean though is that WhatsApp has flattened their own curve — a surge in messaging and forwarding since the outbreak. Their introduction has positively affected the volume of messaging potentially associated with COVID-19.
It also means that users who send a lot of
inappropriate funny pictures through the day, need to manually forward them one at a time.
Social platform providers have a fine line to walk. They need to provide a private and secure platform, but be conscious of the fact that it could be used for wrongdoing (whether deliberate or not) and at least try to curb this behaviour. WhatsApp and other providers are taking some responsibility during these trying times to protect their users.
What further action do you believe these companies could take to prevent their apps from being used to spread bad information?