WhatsApp has seen a 70% reduction in ‘highly forwarded messages’ within three weeks of putting a limit to restrict the spread of misinformation via the Facebook-owned instant messenger.
On April 7, WhatsApp had rolled out the feature to limit forwards to only one contact at a time to control the spread of misinformation during the COVID-19 lockdown.
“This change is helping keep WhatsApp a place for personal and private conversations. WhatsApp is committed to doing our part to tackle viral messages,” a report in TechCrunch quoted a company spokesperson as saying.
WhatsApp has been struggling to restrict misinformation on its platform and the latest move to put a cap seems to have worked. The company is also working with the World Health Organisation, NGOs and over 20 national health ministries to help connect people with accurate information around COVID-19.
Two years ago, WhatsApp had integrated a similar technique to restrict users from forwarding a message to more than five people or groups at once. According to the company, the overall message forwards on its service had dropped by 25% globally in two years.
In India, WhatsApp has partnered with the Indian government to launch a dedicated MyGov Corona Helpdesk chatbot via the number 9013151515 for coronavirus-related queries.
With over 400 million users, India is one of the top markets for WhatsApp. Apart from messaging, WhatsApp is also eyeing to fully launch UPI-based payments service. As of now, the service is available for select users only.