WhatsApp rolled out a feature which will indicate that a certain message has been forwarded from another user, and not typed by the sender. Prior to its final release, this feature was spotted in beta version of the app in Brazil and India. The label will be applicable on text, image, video as well as audio messages. The messaging service released this feature to fight against the fake news.
In a blog posted by WhatsApp, the company said that “Starting today, WhatsApp will indicate which messages you receive have been forwarded to you. This extra context will help make one-on-one and group chats easier to follow”. Additionally, “It also helps you determine if your friend or relative wrote the message they sent or if it originally came from someone else” the blog reads.
WhatsApp has been struggling to control the spread of misinformation and fake news on the platform. On the platform, messages are encrypted, and groups are limited to 256 people which makes it hard to assess when a piece of information goes viral. In India, rumors of child traffickers disseminated through the app have been linked to roughly a dozen deaths since May. Not just this there have been many instances where the spreading of fake news has taken life of many people.
This feature will indeed allow receivers to know that whether a message is forwarded or not but for the most of the time a fake news or a misinformation is kinda clickbait type of thing or has something unusual with it. Will putting a tag of “forwarded” on such messages help to control their spreading? I don’t know but I think WhatsApp needs a to come up with more concrete plan to fight this virus.
WhatsApp has also been encouraging users to take more control of their privacy setting by blocking unwanted users, deleting and reporting as spam. It has also announced an award for those researching misinformation spread through the app.
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