“Search the Web” feature on WhatsApp lets users perform web searches on viral messages to confirm their authenticity.
WhatsApp users were in for a surprise when the app suddenly started displaying a magnifying glass icon beside the frequently forwarded messages that usually appear in chats.
Hackread.com can confirm that the world’s most popular instant messaging app has introduced a brand-new feature that allows users to verify whether the information in a message is authentic or fake.
This feature is currently available in the UK, USA, Brazil, Ireland, Mexico, Spain, and Italy. What’s noteworthy is that WhatsApp users can now verify messages forwarded at least five times or more.
Dubbed ‘Search the Web;’ this new feature allows users to upload any text message they want to verify through their browser. It is worth noting that this feature currently doesn’t accept videos and images. The primary function of this new feature is to control the spread of misinformation.
To fact-check, users will tap on the icon, which will immediately launch a search bar on the web browser, where they can upload the message content for checking its authenticity.
The Facebook-owned company states that it has offered a simplified method of cross-checking viral messages. Using this feature, people can find news results or sources of information related to the content they have received. Since the app claims to offer end-to-end encryption, WhatsApp can’t check on the contents of messages exchanged via this platform.
“This feature works by allowing users to upload the message via their browser without WhatsApp ever seeing the message itself,” the company said in its blog post.
WhatsApp categorizes messages that have been forwarded over five times as frequently forwarded messages. These are marked with double arrows and a label ‘forwarded’ features at the top.
This feature is rolled out for all versions of the app, including iOS and Android; however, it may take some time to make it available worldwide.