In order to help prevent the forwarding of fake news and misinformation via its platform, WhatsApp has introduced a new ‘forwarding limit’…

According to the company, the limit means that messages can only be forwarded to one chat at a time.

“Last year WhatsApp introduced users to the concept of messages that have been forwarded many times. These messages are labelled with double arrows to indicate they did not originate from a close contact.

“In effect, these messages are less personal compared to typical messages sent on WhatsApp. The company is now introducing a limit so that these messages can only be forwarded to one chat at a time,” the company noted in a statement on Tuesday, 7 April.

While the company is aware that the platform is used by millions of people around the world as a way of staying in touch with loved ones, as well as critical contacts like doctors and teachers, it is committed to helping ensure the public receives accurate, proven information about the Covid-19 pandemic.

Subscribe to our Free Daily All4Women Newsletter to enter

Working with NGOs and WHO to highlight accurate information

In addition to the limit on forwarding, WhatsApp is also working directly with NGOs and governments, including the World Health Organisation and over 20 national health ministries, to help connect people with accurate information.

“Together these trusted authorities have sent hundreds of millions of messages directly to people requesting information and advice. Learn more about these efforts, as well as how to submit potential myths, hoaxes and rumours to fact checking organizations, on our Coronavirus Information Hub.

Jail time for fake news sharers & other key regulations in national state of disaster

Jail time and a fine for spreading fake news

The South African government has also put measures in place to help stop the spread of misinformation during the worldwide pandemic and national state of disaster. On 19 March, the government announced new gazetted regulations dealing with the spread of fake news. Those found guilty of purposefully sharing misinformation can face up to six months in jail, or a hefty fine.

Stop the spread of misinformation: 10 ways to identify fake news