New April WhatsApp update will help fight fake news

WhatsApp Fake News
Photo Illustration by Rafael Henrique/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images

In the recent update of WhatsApp, a messaging freeware, the company [Facebook] has put more features that will sure help in the fight against fake news.

Fake news is a form of news consisting of deliberate disinformation or hoaxes spread via traditional news media or online social media. Digital news has brought back and increased the usage of fake news, or yellow journalism.

Fake news are a concern, especially during a pandemic such as the novel COVID-19 coronavirus. Series and chains of fraudulent and misleading messages make their way every day to the arguably most used messaging App.

WhatsApp will now stop messages being repeatedly forwarded, in bulk, to groups. If a message is being relentlessly passed on, users will only be able to send it to one chat at a time, rather than the previous limit of five. It’s hoped that this will, at the very least, limit the spread of potentially “hazardous” misinformation.

It is also reported that the platform is looking at another method of verifying information shared by its users.

The feature would display a small magnifying glass next to each forwarded message, allowing WhatsApp subscribers to double-check the text via a web-search – something that could seriously help debunk the tide of fake news.

The South African government is also on a continued fight against the spread of Fake News during the coronavirus. Multiple arrests have been made to-date for people spreading fake news.