WhatsApp has started rolling out a new feature that will clearly demarcate messages that are forwards. The Facebook-owned company has released an official blog regarding the new feature where it explains how this new feature will help in their efforts to curb fake messages and fake news. Any forwarded message will have a small “Forwarded” label on top.
“Starting today, 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,” stated the blog.
WhatsApp also encourages users to be mindful while sharing messages on the platform. Other than this feature, the company also provides options to either report spam or block a particular contact from their list.
There are various methods by which WhatsApp is trying to deal with the crisis of fake forwards in India. Recently, the instant messaging application launched something called ‘Admins Only’ control in WhatsApp groups. This feature allows group admins to restrict messages from other participants. This broadcasting feature allows a synchronised flow of information.
The company even published 10-point guidelines on most national newspapers across the country. These guidelines will also feature on most regional dailies as well.
The notice takes cognisance of various loopholes that are exploited by fake news generators. It suggests ways to distinguish forwarded messages from original ones and then “question the information that upsets you”.
Another way to spot an unreliable source is to look for spelling mistakes in the message. According to WhatsApp, “many messages containing hoaxes or fake news have spelling mistakes.” Subscribers are also warned to check photos and videos as well. Sometimes images and videos are shared in a wrong context. To fix this, the subscribers have been asked to confirm the source of the media online.
Another tip provided by WhatsApp is the use of other authentic sources of news to verify if the story is real or fake. The instant messaging application also allows users to block any number of people from sharing or texting. Even if a message has been received by various known contacts, it should not be taken at face value.