SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) – WhatsApp, owned by Facebook, decided Tuesday to limit the transfer of messages considered viral to one person in order to fight against the spread of false information against the background of the new coronavirus pandemic.
The pandemic, which has killed more than 70,000 people worldwide, has been accompanied by an “infodemia”, according to the World Health Organization (WHO), that is to say the large-scale dissemination of false information, leading the authorities to ask social networks to redouble their efforts to combat this phenomenon.
WhatsApp, which has more than two billion users worldwide, said it made the decision after seeing a “significant increase” in the number of messages transferred since the start of the health crisis.
“We think it is important to slow down the dissemination of these messages so that WhatsApp remains a place for personal conversation,” the group said in a statement.
A message is considered viral if it has been forwarded more than five times.
(Katie Paul; French version Claude Chendjou, edited by Bertrand Boucey)