Fri 23 August 2019:
WhatsApp had designed a series of features designed to curb viral fake news last year
Now, you can see how many times a message was forwarded on WhatsApp.
WhatsApp has been striving to curb the phenomenon of fake news going viral for the past few years. With incidents of violence reported in countries such as India owing to forwarded fake news on WhatsApp, the social media giant had pledged to design features to tackle these issues.
In the latest update, WhatsApp users can see how many times a message was forwarded after they send it. In addition to this a new forward icon on the message itself will denote if the message was forwarded more than five times since the first instance.
A friend sends X a message; it could be plain text or media. Our experiment was with an image for ease of use.
1. X forwards that message to Y. When X checks the info icon which shows seen and delivered status, an additional line will show that the message was forwarded once – by X.
2. Y then forwards this same message to Z, at this time Y’s info will show that his text has been forwarded two times – once by X and once by himself, Y.
3. Z, on recieving the message, forwards it on to A. Now Z can see in his info bar that the message was forwarded three times – by X, Y and Z.
4. A then decides to forward this to B. A can see now that this particluar message has been forwarded four times, a cumulative number.
5. This is when the new icon appears. Now when B decides to forward it to you, B gets a pop up notifying her that the message will be marked as ‘forwarded many times’ with a slightly altered double-forward icon. After sending it, the info bar no longer shows a number, but the icon denotes that the message was forwarded atleast five times.
Who sees this?
So basically, only the last person to forward the message can see the number of times the same message was forwarded before – to a maximum of four times. After the fourth time, the icon appears, denoting that the message was forwarded a mimimum of five times.
The recipient of the message cannot see this number but can deduce from the icon whether it was forwarded multiple times.
WhatsApp, which has around 1.5 billion users, has been trying to find ways to stop misuse of the app, following global concern that the platform was being used to spread fake news, manipulated photos, videos without context, and audio hoaxes, with no way to monitor their origin or full reach.
Think your friends would be interested? Share this story!