WhatsApp is involved in transmission of missinformation about coronavirus


WhatsApp became a subject of preoccupation for decisional factors at the time of the coronavirus crisis because it is facilitating the transmission of missinformation.

The messages are encrypted in a way that allows them to be seen only by the sender and recipient, so public health officials and watchdog groups are struggling to track the spread of fake information. One popular but incorrect theme is that “hot fluids neutralize the virus, so avoid drinking ice water,” or that drinking water every 15 to 20 minutes will flush the virus to your stomach where it will be killed by acid. “It is clear … that a lot of false information continues to appear in the public sphere. In particular, we need to understand better the risks related to communication on end-to-end encryption services,” European Commission Vice President Věra Jourová, who oversees the bloc’s efforts to fight disinformation, said in a statement Tuesday.

“I am urging everyone to please stop sharing unverified info on WhatsApp groups,” Irish Prime Minister Leo Varadkar said on Twitter. WhatsApp says in response that users can forward messages to special accounts that can verify information, acording Will Cathcart, the head of WhatsApp. Is this enough ? Probably not. Jourová suggested more needs to be done to address the issue of misinformation.


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