WhatsApp has been one of the most disruptive instant messaging apps of all time with over 1.5 billion users around the world. With a platform that expansive, it is bound to be used for ulterior purposes. An upcoming feature update could help that, by showing information around how many times a message has been forwarded, before it reaches you.
WhatsApp has long been under the radar by authorities around the world, especially in India. During India’s elections earlier this year, the government forced WhatsApp to incorporate changes that would help curb the rampant spread of false information and fake news, as the effects would ripple on and affect the outcome of the election.
Recently, a new feature was spotted by a user in a beta build of WhatsApp which shows additional forwarding information. When a user selects a message and clicks on the (i) symbol on the top, this new feature will now also show how many times the message has been forwarded, along with the read receipts.
With this, WhatsApp believes that users will be better able to gauge the authenticity of a message or piece of information and hopefully discourage ignorant or blind forwarding, but importantly, it will try to make the user, a little more cautious about the source and authenticity of a message.
This feature is not yet available in the public build of WhatsApp that we find on the PlayStore. It’s unclear if the source was on the beta build or was on an early stage of testing. The closest option to this has been the “frequently forwarded” tag on certain messages.
These features are gentle reminders of how consumers should not trust every bit of information found on the internet, and use their own discretion before being a part of the herd.