As the COVID-19 outbreak continues to persist across the globe, several misinformation campaigns are spreading wrong information about cures or government actions. Messaging apps particularly are becoming the main source of circulating such reports. In the past Facebook has been the vital source to spread misinformation because of its mass reach, but now it is taking all the measures to limit and remove such. Facebook is figuring out new ways to prevent the spread of misinformation in order to stop misleading movements before they go viral.
This week Facebook-owned WhatsApp stated that they are on the move to launch a new feature that will allow users to search for additional information on a message through Google search prompts. This feature will help users to check the misinformation by looking at the related reports and know what else has been discussed.
WhatsApp recently launched a WHO chatbot and a COVID-19 information hub to assist in providing official information to the users. Facebook CEO, Mark Zuckerberg in a report last week states that the WhatsApp and messenger are receiving more than double user traffic than usual during this COVID-19 outbreak. Facebook is also testing an update to limit how many groups a message can be forwarded to in its messenger app.
Facebook Messenger is working on limiting the amount of threads a message can be forwarded at a time, in order to add frictions on misinformation pic.twitter.com/qRZcE0t4w6
— Jane Manchun Wong (@wongmjane) March 21, 2020
This regulates the user to mass share the information which will help limit the spread of misleading reports. It is scary to consider the impact the misinformation will cause during this COVID-19 outbreak. Some of the misleading advice shared like walking outside is more than enough to disinfect you or drinking bleach will cure COVID-19. So the need for accurate information at this time is highly required to make people take precautionary action and reduce the spread of the virus.