WhatsApp pilots ‘forwards’ verification feature to tackle misinformation

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 content they have received.

Updated - August 04, 2020 01:54 pm IST

Published - August 04, 2020 01:36 pm IST

WhatsApp's 'search the web' feature.

WhatsApp's 'search the web' feature.

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WhatsApp on Monday said it is piloting a search on the web feature to help users verify forwarded messages with additional information from the internet.

The Facebook owned company’s new feature allows people to verify heavily forwarded messages by tapping a magnifying glass button in the chat, next to a message. It then uploads the message via the phone’s browser, and presents search results.

“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 content they have received,” WhatsApp said in a blog post.

When a user forwards a message, WhatsApp labels it with a single arrow icon, and allows the user to share the message with five chats at one time. A message forwarded many times gets a double-tick to let users know it was shared several times.

WhatsApp has limited the number of times a message can be forwarded, allowing users to share them to one chat at a time.

The latest search feature will be piloted in Brazil, Italy, Ireland, Mexico, Spain, UK, and US, and can be accessed by users in these countries on the latest versions of WhatsApp app for Android, iOS and WhatsApp Web.

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