WhatsApp, facebook-owned service has introduced a search feature that helps users to perform a Google search on the authenticity of viral messages forwarded to them.
The new search feature allows users to quickly check the content of information and stop the spread of fake news. A magnifying glass button appears when forwarded messages are received, tapping the button searches for information about the content of the viral messages on Google.
The featured image shows an example of a false information sent to a user claiming that “drinking fresh boiled garlic water will cure COVID-19”. The information can be verified using the search the web feature and it confirms the message is fake and a myth by verified sources.
In a blog post by WhatsApp, it said ‘Search the web’ feature works by allowing users to upload the message via their browser without WhatsApp ever seeing the message itself.
In 2018, a wave of fake abduction messages in India spread on the app which lead to mass violence. The Facebook owned instant messaging platform in a bid to stop the spread of fake news, reduced the number of forwarded messages per user to five chats from twenty. Earlier in April this year. WhatsApp cut the spread of viral messages by 70 percent after changing the limit of five forwarded messages to only one user.
WhatsApp, which has more than 2 billion users worldwide hopes to stop false information and give users authentic messages.
The new feature has been launched to select countries including United states, Mexico, United Kingdom, Spain Brazil, Italy and Ireland for users using the latest versions of the app on Android, iOS and WhatsApp Web.