COVID-19: How to check fake coronavirus news and information on WhatsApp

WhatsApp does offer some features which can curb the spread of fake news and is also testing some more to deal with the problem.

Coronavirus, or COVID-19, is spreading fast and wide and not only do we need to take care of our health, we also need to make sure no false information is shared about it. In situations of chaos and pandemic, it is very easy for fake news to spread and most people are not informed enough to ignore it.

At times like these, fake news is not only dangerous, it is also fatal.

WhatsApp had established a system for users to report fake news during polls and also flag any news that seemed dubious. Right now there are a lot of messages doing the rounds on WhatsApp that carry medical information and preventive measures that are not correct and other information that’s wrong and detrimental along with fake numbers of deaths and reported cases.

Messages like these trigger more panic and very often mislead people. WhatsApp has over 1.5 billion users across the world, you can well imagine the impact it can have.

Luckily, WhatsApp does offer some features which can curb the spread of fake news and is also testing some more to deal with the menace.

One of the most basic ways to curb fake news is to carefully check the media such as photos and videos for edits that are misleading. The next thing is to verify the information with various reliable news sources.

In terms of features that have been introduced by WhatsApp to categorically control fake news, take a look at the following:

Forward mark

There is an arrow mark on top of the messages that have been forwarded. With this symbol one can conclude that the sender is not the original source of the message and he too has received this information from somewhere else.

In cases like these, double check anything you have received.

Frequently Forwarded Message

This was one of the new features introduced by WhatsApp last year. The messages in this category have two arrow marks instead of one. This is an indicator that the message has been floating around on the portal for quite some time and will need to be checked all the more.

Forwarding Info

The feature lets a person check the number of times the message has been forwarded. To see this information, tap on the message info option.

Forwarding Limit

WhatsApp has restricted the limit of forwarding messages at a time to 5 as opposed to the 20 earlier. This is probably one of the most effective ways to curb fake news.

If you spot any of these features on a message or a forward you have received, then verify the content before you believe it yourself and pass it on.

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