WhatsApp has revealed that viral forwarded messages have declined by 70 percent globally. The Facebook-owned messaging platform has informed the Central government about the decline in highly forwarded messages. The decline is because of WhatsApp’s decision to limit the number of times a message can be forwarded. Early this month, the social messaging platform announced that it will limit messages identified as “highly forwarded” to a single person. Also Read - WhatsApp: How to stop the spread of fake news
Earlier, the limit on such forwarded messages was five people. With the revision in limit on forwarded messages, WhatsApp is trying to fight the spread of false information on its platform. The platform has now confirmed that it is seeing real-life impact of this move. “WhatsApp is saying that their limit of one per forward for viral messages has brought down the spread of such messages,” an official at the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology (MeitY) told Business Standard. Also Read - Reliance JioMart launches WhatsApp Order Booking Service with 48-hour delivery promise
“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. This change is helping keep WhatsApp a place for personal and private conversations,” a spokesperson for WhatsApp told Business Standard. Also Read - WhatsApp to allow 8 people private video calls from next week
The move was mainly designed to limit dispatch of information across WhatsApp groups and individual accounts. WhatsApp has also added an option to verify authenticity of a forwarded message with the addition of a new dedicated search button. The button appears every time a message was forwarded to its users by some. WhatsApp has also partnered the International Fact-Checking Network (IFCN) to debunk wrong information.
As part of this partnership, WhatsApp can double-check any information directly with IFCN’s partner organizations. WhatsApp has over 400 million users in the country but has turned into a source for spread of misinformation. The government has already raised concerns about fake messages about COVID-19 being spread through the platform. It has also raised these concerns directly with TikTok, Helo and Facebook. Now, the early results show that WhatsApp’s step to limit forwarded messages is turning out to be right.