WhatsApp has seen a 70% decrease in “highly forwarded messages” in the past three weeks. The company put a new limit on the number of messages you could forward to one in an attempt to stop the spread of COVID-19 fake news. As a result, fake news and spam messages are harder to spread and it is helping.

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The new WhatsApp feature rolled out on 7 April 2020. It has taken three weeks to get to this point but the results are showing. The company spoke to TechCrunch saying, globally there has been a 70% reduction in the number of highly forwarded messages on WhatsApp.

“This change is helping keep WhatsApp a place for personal and private conversations. WhatsApp is committed to doing our part to tackle viral messages,

Prior to the change, the company saw a massive amount of forwarding of texts in various countries especially India, its biggest market. Users complained saying it can often feel overwhelming at times. Many used the platform to spread hoaxes and fake news. South Africa has seen multiple arrests for the spread of fake news through WhatsApp. Resulting in a massive drop since the new feature rolled out.

Remember to report fake news when you see it. We put together a guide on how to report it in South Africa here.

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