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WhatsApp working on a mechanism to stop chain letter spam messaging

by Milicent Atieno

Chain letter messaging menace has grown to become a big problem on WhatsApp, where you get those type of messages asking you to forward to as many of your contacts as possible. The worst part of it is that most of the time, the messages are either fake news or contain links trying to get the users to click it and enable black hat hackers to steal users information or embed an exploit in users’ devices.

Security experts at Facebook (the owner of WhatsApp) are reportedly working on a mechanism to check and perhaps stop completely chain letter messaging on the platform. According to two WhatsApp blog sites, WABetainfo and, WhatsApp will introduce a warning mechanism letting the user know the message they have received or about to forward has been shared multiple times before.

While the said anti-chain letter mechanism doesn’t verify if the message if fake or otherwise (nor safe or not). It does give the user enough caution that the message they have received has been shared multiple times before, and fits to be considered viral and possibly fake or harmful message.

The user gets the notification that the message “has been forwarded many times,” and they should think twice before forwarding it to their contacts or opening links contained in such messages.

This said feature is in pilot phase mode, and if you know anything about Facebook (owner of WhatsApp), it frequently tests new features to improve user experience and security on its platforms. However, not all features in tests make it to being baked into the final product.

Nonetheless, there is no doubt that such a feature will be very helpful in curtailing the spread of viral fake news and possible harmful links masquerading as a reward for the user if they play the game online (or click the link therein).

The spread of fake news has let to breakout of mob attacks leading to loss of lives and serious physical injuries on innocent people. In Brazil, it saw the ratings of a popular TV network take a nosedive following viral fake news spread on WhatsApp that a well-known drag queen Pablo Vittar was soliciting public funding to host a kids TV show on the network.

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