The instant messaging application WhatsApp announced on Tuesday April 7 that it would further limit the number of messages transmitted on its platforms in order to fight the spread of fake news and misinformation in the midst of a coronavirus pandemic, WhatsApp said on its online blog.
“Billions of people can no longer see their friends and families in the flesh because of COVID-19. These people therefore rely more than ever on WhatsApp to communicate. In this period of crisis, people are talking to doctors , teachers and their loved ones isolated with WhatsApp. This is why your messages and calls are encrypted end-to-end by default. The application is thus secure and your conversations remain personal, “said the developers first. of the application.
WhatsApp, part of the Facebook group, is thus extending the global measures it had implemented last year, which has limited the number of times users could transmit frequently shared messages to five conversations at a time.
The app now reduces the number of conversations users can share frequently uploaded content to one at a time. “We know that many users pass on useful information, as well as funny videos, memes and thoughts or prayers that they find important”, “In recent weeks, people have also used WhatsApp to organize public moments in support for frontline health workers. ”
“However, we have seen a significant increase in the volume of forwarding which users say may seem overflowing and may be contributing to the spread of misinformation. We believe it is important to slow down the delivery of these messages in order for WhatsApp to remain a place for personal conversation, “said the California-based company.
Indeed, this measure comes after false conspiracy theories linking 5G mobile networks to COVID-19 have prompted people to burn cell phone masts in the UK.
Facebook told CNBC on Monday (April 6th) that it had started removing content encouraging attacks on cell towers and 5G masts.
These attacks have prompted the British government to urge social media platforms to take action to combat the spread of this false information.