WhatsApp boasts of 70 percent reduction in sharing of conspiracy theories and other viral texts

WhatsApp says there has been a 70 percent reduction in the sharing of what it calls “highly forwarded messages”.

It recently introduced limits on people forwarding such messages to multiple groups in the light of 5G conspiracy theories and other topical misinformation rapidly spreading using the chat app.

The move appears to have worked in its aim to reduce WhatsApp’s role in the spread of fake news around the current global situation and other issues. WhatsApp says it has now teamed up with almost 50 organisations worldwide, including the UK Government and the World Health Organization’s Health Alert service, which was used by over 10 million people in its first three days. 

The so-called “frequently forwarded messages” can now only be forwarded to one chat at a time. WhatsApp is also planning to warn users about oft-forwarded messages in future versions of the app. 

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The new measures don’t impact messages that you’ve created or have been created by close contacts.

Last year, the app began indicating to users messages that have been forwarded many times using a “double arrow” icon to indicate they did not originate from a close contact and have been shared multiple times.

WhatsApp says it bans two million accounts per month for attempting to send bulk or automated messages. When it previously introduced a limit on forwarding to five chats at-a-time in mid-2018, the move saw a 25 percent reduction in forwarded messages. 

 

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