Coronavirus Fake News Forces WhatsApp To Impose Limits On Message Forwarding

The dissemination of rumours, false information and fake news have been an issue on social media including WhatsApp for several years now.

The forwarding such of messages has can contributed to the heightened level of stress and uncertainty in the society, and it is not surprising that the current coronavirus pandemic has seen a surge in false information circulating online.

In an attempt to reduce the spread of Covid-19 rumours and “keep WhatsApp a place for personal conversation”, WhatsApp announced today that it is imposing a limit on how many times a message can be forwarded, limiting it one chat at a time.

This was disclosed in a statement by Jake Moore, a Cybersecurity Specialist at ESET.

He said:

“There’s enough fake news going around without this to contend with. If you ever see a message that requests for it to be passed on, resist the temptation, delete it and make the sender aware of the problems involved with the spread of misinformation. It is possible for malicious attachments to cause havoc on phones – like what happened with Jeff Bezos recently– so it is really important to validate the message with the sender before spreading anything.

“As people struggle to deal with the temptation of forwarding messages on, this move will prevent it going further than it should. Bot farms are used to mass spread information, so this move will have huge effects on mitigating their circulation.”

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