The spread of misinformation and fake news was at its peak with the ongoing pandemic but global efforts by social media giants have successfully reduced the widespread significantly.
In WhatsApp’s case at least, the spread of fake news has decreased by 70% ever since the messaging platform placed a limit on forwarded messages. The news comes from a report by The Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology (MeitY) that has revealed that WhatsApp’s newly introduced feature is working as intended.
The said feature arrived on WhatsApp earlier this month no longer allowing people to forward a message to more than one contact. If a message has been forwarded more than 5 times, it gets restricted.
A WhatsApp spokesperson commented on the matter saying:
Since putting this new limit into place, globally there has been a 70 per cent reduction in the number of highly forwarded messages sent on WhatsApp. This change is helping keep WhatsApp a place for personal and private conversations.
Additionally, WhatsApp is also collaborating with the International Fact-Checking Network (IFCN) to help verify news instantly. The Facebook-owned messaging platform has also shared a list of official numbers that can be contacted to help verify news.
However, even with all these measures in place, people are able to find simple workarounds such as messaging people separately or making groups to spread fake news to multiple people and it remains to be seen how WhatsApp plans to address those issues.
Regardless, a decrease of 70% is indeed significant and is definitely a step in the right direction for everyone.