Jan 22, 2019

WhatsApp targets fake news by limiting message forwarding

WhatsApp is limiting message forwarding. Photo: Thomas Trutschel/Photothek via Getty Images

Facebook's secure messaging app WhatsApp announced Monday that it would cap the number of people a user could forward a message to at 5 in an attempt to prevent false stories from spreading too quickly.

Why it matters: U.S. WhatsApp users are probably most familiar with false allegations inflaming the political climate. That's bad, but nothing near as bad as what's happened in India, where rumors have lead to lynchings.

What they're saying: “We’re imposing a limit of five messages all over the world as of today,” Victoria Grand, WhatsApp vice president for policy and communications, told Reuters, announcing the change in Indonesia.

Because WhatsApp is encrypted in a way that not even Facebook can read the messages — thus preventing oppressive regimes from subpoenaing Facebook for the messages — there aren't many good options to moderate links and other content from propagandists or well-meaning-but-incorrect uncles.

Go deeper: WhatsApp bans Brazilian frontrunner Bolsonaro’s son amid fake news fears

Go deeper

Pandemic and protests can't stop the stock market

Traders work on the floor of the NYSE. Photo: Spencer Platt/Getty Images.

United States equities were on pace to open higher Monday following big gains in Asia and Europe and a risk-on bid in currency markets.

Why it matters: Stock markets could continue to rise despite an unprecedented global pandemic, violent protests over police violence in the U.S. not seen since the 1960s, and spiking tensions between the world's two largest economies.

1 hour ago - Sports

The sports world speaks up about death of George Floyd

Celtics guard Jaylen Brown. Screenshot: Jaylen Brown/Instagram

There was a time when a months-long sports absence would have silenced athletes, leaving them without a platform to reach fans or make their voices heard.

Why it matters: But now that athletes boast massive social media followings and no longer need live game broadcasts or media outlets to reach millions, they're speaking out en masse amid protests over the death of George Floyd and other police-related killings of black people — delivering messages of frustration and unity, despite their leagues not currently operating.

The technology of witnessing brutality

Charging Alabama state troopers pass by fallen demonstrators in Selma on March 7, 1965. Photo: Bettmann/Getty Images

The ways Americans capture and share records of racist violence and police misconduct keep changing, but the pain of the underlying injustices they chronicle remains a stubborn constant.

Driving the news: After George Floyd's death at the hands of Minneapolis police sparked wide protests, Minnesota Gov. Tim Walz said, “Thank God a young person had a camera to video it."