Ever since Whatsapp brought up its forwarded message feature, which is since its inception, it has allowed people to forward a message to 5 people in one go. After the recent update, the people could no longer send to 5 people, instead just to one at a time. It has brought a marked decline in the number of forwarded messages.
The update was aimed to stop viral messages from proliferating in an unchecked manner. This update applies to messages that are already forwarded too many times, so much so that the double tick marker appears on the top left corner of those messages. Under this update, the Whatsapp users could no longer send such a multiple forwarded message to other users, 5 at a time like they earlier could.
It has slowed down the spread of forwarded messages. As it was intended, it is already too much work to send to one person at a time in case you wish a number of people to receive it personally! Thus, this attempt was made to counter the menace caused by “highly-forwarded” messages to stop the spread of viral posts. These posts are notorious for their potential to spread lies and misinformation, causing a situation of unrest in society.
The update was meant to counter bulk spread; thus, if a message has already been forwarded on in bulk, Whatsapp users are needed to make some extra effort to forward it on to more people ahead. If a text has been sent to enough to get a “highly-forwarded” tag, users can only forward it on to one user at a time, rather than five.
The high forwarded tag was a feature of the previous year. The year 2019 saw Whatsapp putting in place a mechanism to keep a firm check on its aim of “constraining virality.” Thus, in keeping with that update of the previous year, a set of arrows to a message was applied that had been forwarded on a sufficient number of times. The new update continued with that and took that ahead.
It is a pleasant wave of relief for the company, which was criticized for giving too much leeway to its users that allowed the spread of lies and misinformation. The number of such messages that have been forwarded time and again has dropped to 70 per cent since the new update was introduced, and charges were brought.
Whatsapp has taken a crucial step in tackling the menace of forwarded messages. Though Whatsapp is not the only one facing the wrath of misinformation that gets compounded with every forward, other social networks need to aim to deal with an influx of falsehood and rumours.
It becomes even more important when the false stories are linked with the novel coronavirus and others that are related to the coronavirus pandemic. Many posts claimed to be medications. Many others still claimed to be godsend prevention methods, all without any scientific basis.
Now that Whatsapp has reduced the influx of forwarded messages by a good 25 percent of what it was before, it’s time to quote what Whatsapp wrote in a blog post alongside the announcement – that too verbatim. The blog post upheld, “We believe it is important to slow the spread of these messages down to keep WhatsApp a place for a personal conversation.”
These social media networks have long been catering to the whims and fancies of individuals that aim to create a state of panic. A lot of damage is already done before the law enforcement agencies nab these miscreants and mischief mongers. Hence, more and more social media platforms need to tighten their systems to keep such unsocial elements in check.