WhatsApp rolls out feature to highlight ‘forward messages’ to combat fake news chaos

WhatsApp rolls out feature to highlight ‘forward messages’ to combat fake news chaos

Reuters | July 12, 2018

To tackle the spread of misinformation, Facebook Inc's WhatsApp messaging launched a new feature where they will label forwarded messages to dispel fake news woes on Tuesday.

WhatsApp went further and published advertisements in leading Indian newspapers.

 The move is WhatsApp's first such effort to fight a flurry of fake messages that prompted mob lynching.
Chaos including beatings and deaths triggered by false incendiary messages in India, WhatsApp's biggest market with more than 200 million users, caused a public relations nightmare, sparking calls from authorities for immediate action.

"Together we can fight false information," read full-page advertisements in some top English language-newspapers, part of a series that will also feature in regional-language dailies.

During the week, the company aims to publish similar advertisements in regional dailies across India, from the states of Gujarat, Maharashtra and Rajasthan in the west to the most populous state of Uttar Pradesh in the north, according to the statement.


On Tuesday, WhatsApp also rolled out a new feature that will label forwarded messages as such, indicating to receivers that the sender is not the creator of the message.


A blog entry by WhatsApp shed light on the new feature – 'Labeling Forwarded Messages'.

"WhatsApp will indicate which messages you receive have been forwarded to you.

"This extra context will help make one-on-one and group chats easier to follow. It also helps you determine if your friend or relative wrote the message they sent or if it originally came from someone else. To see this new forwarded label, you need to have the latest supported version of WhatsApp on your phone."


Last week, replying to a notice by the Indian government to take immediate measures to prevent misuse of WhatsApp, the platform had said that it was testing a new label that highlights when a message has been forwarded.

WhatsApp has previously said it is giving users controls and information to help them stay safe, and that it plans to run long-term public safety advertising campaigns to rein in false messages.

(With inputs from Reuters)

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