WhatsApp is taking another step to stop the rampant spread of misinformation amid the Covid-19 pandemic. Its parent company Facebook have introduced a new limit on message forwarding.
The company put out a statement Tuesday saying the limitations are needed following a “significant increase” in the forwarding of misinformation during the outbreak.
WhatsApp reduced the amount of chats users can share frequently forwarded content to. Users can now only forward to just one at a time. Previously users could pass on frequently forwarded messages to five chats at once.
“We know many users forward helpful information, as well as funny videos, memes, and reflections or prayers they find meaningful,” said WhatsApp. “In recent weeks, people have also used WhatsApp to organize public moments of support for frontline health workers.”
“However, we’ve seen a significant increase in the amount of forwarding which users have told us can feel overwhelming and can contribute to the spread of misinformation. We believe it’s important to slow the spread of these messages down to keep WhatsApp a place for personal conversation.”
Bogus theories on 5G mobile networks
The new measures come after an influx of bogus reports linking 5G mobile networks with the COVID-19 pandemic. Those false reports reportedly inspired people to set fire to cell phone masts in the U.K.
Facebook asks users about coronavirus symptoms
Facebook Inc have begun surveying some U.S. users about their health. The company made the announcement on Monday as part of a Carnegie Mellon University research project. Facebook says the program will be used to generate “heat maps” of self-reported Covid-19 infections.
Researchers say the program will help them predict where medical resources are needed. While Canada was not mentioned, Facebook said it may make surveys available to users in other countries to.