WhatsApp has become the biggest pain point in Facebook’s fight against misinformation. As the world continues to battle Coronavirus, WhatsApp has become the platform for spread of false information. While Facebook has been blamed for not doing enough, WhatsApp seems to be working on a fix. The social messaging platform has reportedly begun testing a new feature that allows users to verify the contents of forwarded messages received by them.
In fact, WhatsApp wants to make it possible with a couple of taps. The new feature reportedly appears in the form of a magnifying glass button right next to messages that have been forwarded many times. According to Mumbai Mirror, WhatsApp will let users check the contents of the message for suspected factual inaccuracies. It will also determine whether it is fake news. The feature has reportedly been rolled out over the weekend to beta users.
Once the user taps the magnifying glass button, WhatsApp displays a pop-up message. “Would you like to search this on the web? This will upload the message to Google,” it reads. The user can either tap on the “Search Web” button or cancel. The feature was first spotted by Twitter user Shrinivas G, who tweeted how it works. When a user taps on “Search Web” option, there is a possibility that reports debunking fake news will be indexed on top.
WhatsApp seems to have added a search icon next to Forwarded messages to directly search with the content of the forward on Google – fake messages that have been called out, usually show up on top.
Decent move. pic.twitter.com/u0DFnaj2Bi
— SG (@shrinivassg) March 21, 2020
“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 featuring is currently in testing, and we look forward to rolling it out in the near future,” a WhatsApp representative told Mirror on Sunday.
So far, thirty states and union territories have announced a complete lockdown across 548 districts. In 58 districts across three states, the lockdown is partial. Because of lockdown, WhatsApp has become the primary means for people to connect with friends and family. It has also become the medium through which they got all the information. As a result, it becomes paramount to weed out misinformation. After creating an information hub, WhatsApp is taking the first big step at combating spread of false information on the platform.