WhatsApp's 'Search the Web' feature launched to help double check forwarded messages
By Vivek Raj | Galatta | Aug 04, 2020, 01:00 pm
The credibility and the truth behind a forwarded message on WhatsApp can now be determined with just a tap as the cross-platform messaging and Voice over IP service has now introduced a new 'Search the Web' feature. This new feature has been rolled out by the Facebook-owned company as a measure to put a stop to an increase in the fake news being spread in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic, while also allowing users to ascertain information on whether they have been debunked on the internet.
The 'Search the Web' feature, which has not yet been launched in India, will help in keeping a check on the misinformation that gets passed around on the messenger platform. Through this feature, users can tap on the magnifying glass icon next to the message that has been forwarded several times. Users will then be redirected to their default browser where the message will be uploaded. By doing so, the authenticity behind a message can be checked through Web search results, which will comprise articles that would have earlier been debunked as fake.
Announcing the launch of the new feature through a blog post, WhatsApp said, "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 will allow its users to see whether a message sent to them has been forwarded earlier via the forwarded label that will appear on top of the message. It is to be noted that WhatsApp had earlier this year made a move to limit the number of times a message can be forwarded in order to keep up with the private nature of the service. It has also been revealed that work on this 'Search the Web' feature has been going for months now.
In its statement, WhatsApp said users can now upload the forwarded messages on their browsers using the 'Search for Web' feature, without WhatsApp seeing the message at all. As of now, the 'Search the Web' feature is being launched in countries like Brazil, Italy, Ireland, Mexico, Spain, the UK, and the US for users who have the latest version of WhatsApp on Android, iPhone, and WhatsApp Web.
WhatsApp received a bot earlier this year in March from the World Health Organisation (WHO) that provided users up-to-date information in regard to the COVID-19 outbreak, which also put an end to the myths surrounding it. It was at around the same time when the Indian government launched its MyGov Corona Helpdesk in order to create awareness and provide information from health experts about the coronavirus pandemic.