Η application WhatsApp has placed restrictions on mass messaging in an effort to eliminate misinformation. This is due to the fact that WhatsApp, as well as other applications, has seen a significant increase in users spreading scams, rumors and other types of false information about COVID-19 and other events. So now the mass messaging will stop and users will be able to share information on a smaller scale. In other words, they will now be able to forward a message to just one conversation at a time.
WhatsApp is also testing one feature which will display a magnifying glass next to such messages. Users will then be able to click on it and go to website search for a message. During the search, they will be able to find articles that prove whether the content of a message corresponds to reality or not. In case the search shows that one message includes content that is not true, users will not be able to forward it to others. These measures are aimed at preventing them users promote messages that are out of control and may contain false information. In addition, WhatsApp noted that mass promotion could lead to the spread of misinformation. The app has already detected messages that have been forwarded several times, adding a double arrow next to them to indicate that they are not from a close or intimate contact. Now each message with a double arrow can only be forwarded to one conversation, while previously it could be forwarded to five talks at the same time.
The limit of 5 conversations was imposed in January 2019, resulting in a 25% reduction in the promotion of unchecked messages, WhatsApp said. WhatsApp also stated that this feature was not intended to stop all forwarding or viral messages, but to encourage users to be more careful about the content they share. However, it clarifies that not all messages are sent dangerously, as many users forward useful information as well as funny video ή memes. In recent weeks, users have been using WhatsApp to show their support for doctors who work daily against COVID-19. At the same time, however, there are cases of fraud that exploit it pandemic, contributing to the spread of misinformation.