Social Media

WhatsApp working on feature that would let users weed out fake information

Hemani Sheth Mumbai | Updated on March 24, 2020 Published on March 24, 2020

WhatsApp is reportedly testing a feature that will allow users to search WhatsApp forwards on the web in order to ascertain their authenticity and filter fake information forwarded on the platform.

The feature was first spotted by WABetaInfo in the code of the latest beta version 2.20.94.

It was later confirmed by a WhatsApp spokesperson who, in a statement said: “We are working on new features to help empower users to find out more information about the messages they receive that have been forwarded many times. This feature is currently in testing, and we look forward to rolling it out in the near future,” according to a TechCrunch report.

The Facebook-owned messaging app will launch the feature for ‘Frequently Forwarded Messages’ where the search button will display an alert as a user taps an icon displayed next to the forwarded message. The alert will read, “Would you like to search this on the Web? This will upload the message on Google.” Users can click on the ’Search the Web' button and it will then take them to Google search where they can look up the message to ascertain whether the message is fake or not, WABetaInfo reported.

Curbing coronavirus-related misinformation

The feature is under development and is not available on WhatsApp yet. However, when launched, the feature would help curb misinformation on the messaging platform, given the current coronavirus pandemic situation.

Multiple social media platforms, including WhatsApp’s parent company, Facebook, have been working to eliminate misinformation from their platform. WhatsApp had recently donated $1 million to the International Fact-Checking Network to support fact-checking for the #CoronaVirusFacts Alliance, to report rumours that may be circulating on various messaging services, including WhatsApp or SMS.

In India, the government’s Press Information Bureau (PIB) has joined hands with WhatsApp to curb misinformation surrounding the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Do forward any whatsapp “news” about #COVID2019 which you suspect is #fakenews to our whatsapp hotline number +918799711259 for busting,” PIB had tweeted. PIB can be contacted at +918799711259 on WhatsApp.

Published on March 24, 2020
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