Instant Messaging Service WhatsApp Tests New Feature To Curb Spread Of Misinformation

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With over 2 billion users worldwide, WhatsApp is the most widely used instant messaging service around the world. Now, amidst the coronavirus pandemic, where people are practising social distancing, WhatsApp is more useful than ever in keeping people connected. Unfortunately, the messaging platform is also the breeding ground for fake coronavirus cures and conspiracies which is misleading a large section of users. To battle this, WhatsApp is now testing a feature that will help users verify the information that’s being spread on the platform.

The latest beta version of the Android application now gives users the ability to search a text message or a video message that they’ve received to help get more context and information related to the message. This can be done by tapping a search icon that appears next to forwarded messages.

Image Credit: @bidyutbiswas77

Clicking on the search icon will simply search for the message on the web and return information related to it. It’s important to know that this new feature won’t categorically verify news for you but will only make the process of verifying information easier.

Notably, this isn’t the first time WhatsApp is testing this feature. Last year, WhatsApp let some users search for images on the web. But this time around, WhatsApp plans to roll out this feature to all users in the near future.

This is what a WhatsApp spokesperson had to say to TechCrunch in a statement: “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.”

Considering how important a role WhatsApp is playing in the disbursement of information, it’ll be ideal if this rolls out to a broader section of the public. The rampant spread of misinformation regarding coronavirus can lead to a lot of harm.

In related news, WHO is now on WhatsApp to answer all your queries regarding the coronavirus.

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