WhatsApp Launches 'Search the Web' Feature in Select Countries to Combat Misinformation
WhatsApp has officially rolled out a long-speculated 'Search the Web' feature in order to combat fake news and misinformation. The feature, as of now, has been launched in select countries, including the likes of US, UK, Brazil, Spain, Italy, and Ireland, allowing users to verify and double-check the messages that have been forwarded to them. According to the tech giant, the feature is available to both Android and iOS users as well as WhatsApp Web. However, the company has not revealed anything as to when it plans the said feature in India, which is one of its biggest markets with more than 400 million users.
How to Use Search the Web Feature
Users will see a magnifying glass icon next to the frequently forwarded messages and they can tap on the button to launch a search on the web to verify or double-check the content. According to WhatsApp, since messages on the platform are end-to-end encrypted and the company cannot read it, users might have to go through multiple links on the web to determine the authenticity of the content. To recall, there is a restriction on the number of forwarded messages on WhatsApp, and as per the latest rule, users are not able to forward messages more than one person at a time. Through the latest feature, WhatsApp wants its users to go through the viral message carefully before forwarding them blindly. Users in the select countries also need to get the latest version of WhatsApp to avail this new feature.
“Today, we’re piloting a simple way to double-check these messages by tapping a magnifying glass button in the chat. 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. This feature works by allowing users to upload the message via their browser without WhatsApp ever seeing the message itself,” WhatsApp said in a blog post.