To tackle fake news, WhatsApp launches feature to highlight forwarded messages

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

Updated - July 11, 2018 01:09 am IST

Published - July 10, 2018 10:35 pm IST - New Delhi

WhatsApp, late on Tuesday, announced the launch of a new feature globally that will highlight when a message has been forwarded versus composed by the sender.

The move follows the ongoing debate in various parts of the world, including India, on tackling spread of fake information on the platform owned by social media network Facebook.

“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,” WhatsApp said in a blog.

“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,” it added.

Last week, replying to a notice by the Indian government to take immediate measures to prevent misuse of its platform, WhatsApp had said that it was testing a new label that highlights when a message has been forwarded. “This could serve as an important signal for recipients to think twice before forwarding messages because it lets a user know if content they received was written by the person they know or a potential rumour from someone else,” it had said.

In its blog, the instant messaging application added: “WhatsApp cares deeply about your safety. We encourage you to think before sharing messages that were forwarded. As a reminder, you can report spam or block a contact in one tap and can always reach out to WhatsApp directly for help.” The company had last month also announced “unrestricted monetary awards” for research on spread of misinformation on its platform to address the problem.

Following reports of lynching and killing of people across the country in States, including Assam, Maharashtra, Karnataka, Tripura and West Bengal due to large number of rumours being circulated on WhatsApp, the Indian government had last week said that the company cannot evade accountability and needs to take necessary remedial measures.

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