NEW DELHI: Soon, forwards on WhatsApp will be clearly differentiated from genuine messages and mass spam will be blocked as the world’s most popular messenger begins a series of initiatives to check the spread of fake news. This follows a reprimand by the government after a series of lynching incidents
The company, in the middle of a storm following the misuse of its platform to spread fake information, said it has made a number of updates to its group chats, and will “step up efforts” to help spot fakes.
New feature to help identify spam texts
Among the new steps by WhatsApp is a new feature that will help demarcate between potential spam (being spread as forwards) and a genuine message. “We have been testing a new label in India that highlights when a message has been forwarded versus composed by the sender. This could serve as a signal for recipients to think twice before forwarding messages because it lets a user know if content they received was written by the person they know or a potential rumour from someone else. We plan to launch this feature soon.”
There have been instances where people, especially in rural and semi-urban areas, have panicked on WhatsApp forwards, taking them as genuine messages rather than verifying their authenticity. This is what WhatsApp is attempting to curb now.
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