WhatsApp has begun testing a new feature that warns users when they receive a suspected hoax message. It should help users avoid common spam that may seem genuine at first glance.
If you’ve been a WhatsApp user for a while, you’ve likely received a hoax chain message at some point. They often claim that WhatsApp “is going to cost us money soon,” and that “the only way it will stay free is if you are a frequent user.” To prove this, you have to forward the message to 10 people.
WhatsApp won’t stand for spam
Of course, this is complete trash. WhatsApp is completely free to use and has been since 2016 when it dropped its annual $1 fee. Now that the service is owned by Facebook, it’s unlikely that will ever change. And even if it does, there’s no way you’ll avoid a fee simply by being a “frequent user.”
So WhatsApp is hoping to crack down on spam of this kind by making it easier for users to identify them. A new feature, currently being tested by some users, warns senders and recipients when a message has been “forwarded many times.”
WhatsApp won’t confirm if a message is indeed spam — at least not initially. It won’t block repeat offenders, either. But this warning should encourage users to think twice. If you receive a message that has already been distributed by a large number of people, there’s a good chance it’s a hoax.
It’s not clear when this feature will be available to everyone. WhatsApp is normally pretty quick at making new features available to all.