Whatsapp today introduced a new feature to restrict the spread of misinformation-‘Search the Web’, that will allow users to authenticate any forwarded message via the internet, with just a simple tap. The feature was earlier reported to be in testing for quite some time, but an official word from the messaging app has come today.
“Providing a simple way to search messages that have been forwarded many times may help people find news results or other sources of information about the content they have received,” WhatsApp said in the blog post.
Now, any message that has been forwarded at least five times will feature a ‘magnifying glass’ icon at its side, which will allow the user to search the web for the data in the message. The company said that ‘search the web’ feature, works by allowing users to upload the text message via their browser with a single tap, thus ensuring that WhatsApp will not look at your personal messages, even to verify their credibility.
However, it is important to note that, for now, this feature is being rolled out in a few select countries only (excluding India, the platform’s biggest market). It is available in Brazil, Italy, Ireland, Mexico, Spain, UK, and US. All people who have the latest versions of the WhatsApp app for Android, iOS and WhatsApp Web will be able to view his feature.
This feature, however, currently does not support videos and images.
Fake news on WhatsApp is a huge issue, and now with the coronavirus pandemic it has become even more dangerous. For instance, in the blog post published by WhatsApp, it gave the example of a news claiming that garlic water can cure COVID 19. The company has already introduced other new features to combat the spread of misinformation by taking required steps. For instance, a few months back, WhatsApp set a limit on how many times a certain message can be forwarded. Moreover, WhatsApp has also been fact-checking viral messages.