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WhatsApp Are Introducing New Measures To Curb Your Dad's Wacky Conspiracy Theories

WhatsApp Are Introducing New Measures To Curb Your Dad's Wacky Conspiracy Theories
By Michael McCarthy Updated

Amid the Covid-19 crisis, the scourge of fake news being forwarded on WhatsApp has reached new levels.

There might be daily briefings from Ireland's Chief Medical Officer and countless more scientific information available in the media and online, but these streams of real news are constantly competing with out of context and/or false information being spread on WhatsApp chats. Dangerous "cures" for Covid-19 that are complete nonsense are probably the leader in a large scale and heavily populated race to the bottom. Conspiracy theories linking coronavirus to 5G are making a huge late charge for the finish line.

Today, the messaging platform are introducing new measures to help curb the spread of this fake news. Until today, you could forward a WhatsApp message to five different people or groups in one go. This was a measure introduced last year, from the original 250 limit. Now, users will only be able to forward to one person or group at a time, if the message has been deemed "frequently forwarded."

It's ultimately a very small measure as forwarding is still an option on every message. Their aim instead is to add steps in the process to hopefully avoid mass and thoughtless spreading. Because of the encryption on WhatsApp, the company cannot view the message and therefore discern if it is fake news.

In a statement, a spokesperson for WhatsApp explained their thinking.

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 to keep WhatsApp a place for personal conversation.

The company were also at pains to point out that all forwarding of their messages is bad or wrong.

We know many users forward helpful information, as well as funny videos, memes and reflections or prayers they find meaningful. In recent weeks, people have also used WhatsApp to organise public moments of support for frontline health workers.

Let's hope this all means a few less "absolute facts" being spouted by your dad or uncle as they dispute whatever Dr. Tony Holohan has to say in tonight's press conference.



SEE ALSO: Hulk Hogan Thinks God Is Punishing Us With Coronavirus



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