WhatsApp update: More details on how WhatsApp will fight the spread of fake news

The latest WhatsApp beta update submitted to the Google Pay Beta Program includes insight into a couple of interesting new features that should help slow the spread of fake news. The WhatsApp fake news scandal has gripped the messaging app all over the world, as it has helped put a far-right politician into the president’s office in Brazil and seen gangs lynching innocent victims in India off the back of fake stories spread across the app.

WhatsApp fake news

With pressure increasing on the Facebook-owned app all the time due to these horrible events, it is good to see changes on the horizon.

WhatsApp update includes message Forwarding Info and Frequently Forwarded tags

Forwarded messages on WhatsApp have been tagged for quite some time now. Whenever you forward a message you’ve received to somebody else, it shows with a small Forwarded tag above the message text. The same goes for any time you receive a message from somebody who wasn’t the original sender. This allows users to know if the messages they’re receiving are original or not or if they’re being multiplied across the WhatsApp network from user to user. Alone, however, this feature is very limited as it doesn’t show much information at all.

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The latest WhatsApp beta update aims to flesh this feature out a little more with two new innovations. The first is Forwarding Info, which can be found in the Message info section of the app. By clicking on Forwarding Info, a user will be able to see how many times a message has been forwarded.

Strangely enough, according to the report on the new feature, you’ll only have access to the Forwarding Info tab once you’ve forwarded the message yourself. If you don’t want to add to the chain and pass the message forward yourself, just to learn how many times that it has already been forwarded, you could do so by forwarding it to a  group you’re the only member of.

New message forwarding info coming to WhatsApp
Image via: WABetaInfo

The other new feature is the Frequently forwarded tag. This new tab marks an update on the classic Forwarded tab as it illustrates the difference between a message that has simply been forwarded from a friend or family member and a message that has been shared more than four times. Any time a message has been shared more than four times, the Forwarded tag will be updated to a Frequently forwarded tab. This will show that the message has likely come from beyond your immediate network and so shouldn’t be trusted in the same way you trust messages you get from your contacts.

New frequently forwarded update for whatsapp
Image via: WABetaInfo

These two features offer some hope for the future, but still give WhatsApp more work to do in the fight against misinformation and fake news. Unfortunately, however, there is still no official word on when these two fake news fighting features will receive a general roll-out. Stick with us and we’ll let you know as soon as the news breaks.

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