WhatsApp limits message forwarding to slow spread of Covid-19 misinformation
WhatsApp on Tuesday issued new measures which will see a limited number of conversation/chats one can send and forward to curb misinformation around Covid-19.
World Health Organization (WHO) has called an “infodemic” of misinformation around the coronavirus, prompting governments across the world to urge social media companies to do more to combat the problem.
The pandemic has killed more than 82,000 people worldwide, prompting WHO to shift blame towards social media platforms, accusing them of continuing to contribute fears among the public.
In a blog post, WhatsApp said it made the change after observing a significant increase in the number of forwards since the start of the coronavirus crisis.
“We believe it’s important to slow the spread of these messages down to keep WhatsApp a place for personal conversation,” the statement said.
The platform has more than 2 billion users worldwide, and with the new measure in place, it is not known until when they will be struck off.
The service has been imposing gradual curbs on message forwarding since 2018, after viral rumours on its platform triggered a wave of mass beatings and deaths in India.
With around 1.6 billion active users keeping in touch by instant message and calls the messaging app has made it easier to carry out group calls and video calls.
“We’ve made it easier than ever to start a group call from WhatsApp for groups of 4 or less. From your group chat tap the video or voice call icon to directly start a call with everyone in the chat!”
We've made it easier than ever to start a group call from WhatsApp for groups of 4 or less. From your group chat tap the video or voice call icon to directly start a call with everyone in the chat! ?
— WhatsApp Inc. (@WhatsApp) April 7, 2020
The feature was introduced in July 2018 to allow group voice calls and video calls with up to three people at the same time.
The benefit of using WhatsApp’s call feature is that all its calls, including group video calls, are end-to-end encrypted, just like its normal messages and calls. This means that the chat is protected and can’t be intercepted by outside hackers.
How to do a group video call on WhatsApp?
1. Make sure you have the latest iOS or Android version of WhatsApp
2. Open up the app and start a one-on-one video call with a contact
3. If you want to add more people in, simply click the ‘add participant’ button at the top right of your screen
4. Keep adding until you hit the four people video chat limit.