WhatsApp is the undisputed king of messaging apps, with the service enjoying more than 2 billion active users each month. While the app is quite useful for hundreds of millions of people, some use it to spread misinformation via viral messages.
Since the pandemic began to spread at the start of 2020, a large number of viral messages have been shared, with come containing more function instead of facts. WhatsApp has decided to tackle the potentially dangerous content with the introduction of a new feature.
Users who receive a message that has been forwarded several types will be known if this is the case with the help of a small icon. The new feature, which is currently in the beta stage, allows users to check messages like this by uploading and searching the message with the help of the default browser on the device, without giving WhatsApp access to the content of the message.
Early signs of the feature were spotted a few months ago bit it is now deployed across several countries, including Brazil, UK, us, Spain, and others. A global release could come in the following weeks.
It is worth noting that the new feature will not label the contents of the message as true or false in an automatic manner, as it merely offers the option to run a search if it is deemed desirable. However, it is an important step in the right direction as fake news and misinformation are encountered quite often.
The initiative may be seen as part of a wide-scale initiative started by Facebook after the company has been accused in the past of allowing people and organizations to spread rumors without consequences, especially on Facebook and WhatsApp.
Only time will tell if the feature will have a positive impact, but for now, it seems to be well-received.