WhatsApp Policies

From ADTAC Disinformation Inventory

WhatsApp offers end to end encrypted messaging which means that much of the content cannot be moderated by WhatsApp.

In 2019, WhatsApp launched a mode in which messages automatically disappear after seven days. This feature may complicate attempts to moderate content.[1]

Groups on WhatsApp can reach 256 members. This limit was increased in 2016 as it initially only allowed 100 group members.[2]

Messages on WhatsApp could be easily disseminated through forwarding which allows content to spread much farther than just person to person messaging. In 2018 WhatsApp began to label forwarded messages[3] and in 2019 the platform limited the number of people you can forward a message to five.[4] In 2020 they updated their policy so that messages which have been forwarded five points away from the first sender can only be forwarded to one person[5][6] and are marked with a double arrow icon.[7] A year earlier, WhatsApp enabled users to see how times a message has been forwarded.[8]

WhatsApp has come under fire as it has been used in violent incidents in India – WhatsApp’s largest market. In 2019 WhatsApp created a tip line in India which users can send messages that they believe contain disinformation called Checkpoint. However this tip line is primarily for research purposes rather than to fact check misinformation.[9] In Brazil, many rely on it as their primary news consumption website.[10] WhatsApp’s role in US politics, however, is limited.[11]