WhatsApp sees ‘misinformation’ messages drop 70%

WhatsApp says it has seen a drop of 70% in “highly forwarded” messages – the kind that may spread misinformation about the coronavirus, after placing sharing limits on the network.

The World Health Organization has said the spread of fake news about the outbreak is an “info-demic”.

Earlier this month, WhatsApp rolled out a new feature to limit forwards to only one contact at a time. The idea was to reduce the spread of misinformation spread on the app amid the coronavirus crisis.

After announcing the feature, the company says this move has already had a positive impact on its service, in just two weeks. In a statement, WhatsApp said it saw a 70% reduction in the number of highly forwarded messages:

In a statement, WhatsApp said: “WhatsApp is committed to doing our part to tackle viral messages. We recently introduced a limit to sharing “highly forwarded messages” to just one chat. Since putting into place this new limit, globally there has been a 70% reduction in the number of highly forwarded messages sent on WhatsApp. This change is helping keep WhatsApp a place for personal and private conversations.”
WhatsApp considers any message forwarded more than five times as a “highly forwarded” message.

WhatsApp and private-messenger channels are much more difficult to monitor than Facebook, Twitter or YouTube – we rely on others flagging concerning messages.