Earlier this month, WhatsApp was spotted testing a new feature that would warn users against clicking on suspicious links. Now, the company has started rolling out the feature to all Android beta users.
According to WABetainfo, WhatsApp has started rolling out the feature with Android beta version 2.18.221. As reported before, the company has been testing the feature since beta version 2.18.204. Since then the feature has undergone a lot of tweaks, and has only now rolled out widely to beta testers.
As the name suggests, the feature detects potentially dangerous or spam links received in a message, and warns users against clicking on them. As you can see in the screenshot, a message with a suspicious link is marked with a red strip that reads ‘Suspicious Link’. Despite the label, if a user still clicks on the link, it will pop up a message that reads – “Suspicious Link. This link contains unusual characters. It maybe trying to appear as another site.”
WhatsApp essentially analyzes the link in a message to detect if it redirects to a fake or alternative website. The report notes that WhatsApp analyzes the link locally on the device without sending any data to WhatsApp servers.
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This feature is still in beta, and is likely to undergo a few more tweaks before being rolled out to the public. It could also get new abilities like a way to manually report a suspicious link to WhatsApp.
The Facebook-owned company has lately been focussed on fighting the scourge of spam and fake news on its platform. It recently rolled out a feature that clearly demarcates which messages have been forwarded from other sources. It has also launched a test to limit the extent to which a user can forward a message at one time.