In recent times, WhatsApp has proven to be the fastest media of the spread of misinformation of fake news. The spread of fake news has caused several dangerous mishaps, be it cases of lynching or misinformation leading panic amongst the general public. Fake news spread has also led to communal tensions in several parts of India and also in other parts of the world. WhatsApp has about 400 million users in India, and if it doesn’t check the spread of fake news then the results could be detrimental and dangerous.
One way to curb the spread of misinformation on WhatsApp is to restrict the number of times one particular message can be forwarded. For controlling the spread of misinformation about COVID-19, WhatsApp has restricted the number of times COVID-19 related messages can be forwarded. Now, users can forward a COVID-19 related message to only one user or contact at a time. Frequent forwarding facility for COVID-19 related messages has been turned off. On average, WhatsApp bans about 2 million users per month on account of forwarding bulk messages or automated messages.
To spread awareness about COVID-19, WhatsApp has recently launched a Coronavirus information hub. Further, to boost the spread of correct and useful information, WhatsApp is coordinating with various NGOs, Government bodies and with the World Health Organization (WHO). As per the company, to help broadcast the right information regarding COVID-19, it is actively coordinating with health ministries of 20 nations. The company asserted that they are committed to helping people share messages and also to ensure that misinformation spreads are checked.