Over the past year, WhatsApp has rolled out a slew of new features in its attempts to curb the spread of fake news on the platform. The Facebook-owned IM application has been testing its in-app browser search for one year now and is finally ready to share it with the world.
The new feature enables users to check the credibility of forwarded messages that have been sent to multiple WhatsApp contacts and have the potential to contain harmful fake news. Users will see a magnifying glass option with the message that will instantly search and fact check that particular link or image in the browser.
According to WhatsApp:
WhatsApp provides a special forwarded label to messages shared in chats that have been forwarded many times. Earlier this year, we set limits on how many times they can be sent at once to maintain the private nature of WhatsApp. Today, we’re piloting a simple way to double-check these messages by tapping a magnifying glass button in the chat.
Further explaining the feature functionality, WhatsApp writes:
This feature works by allowing users to upload the message via their browser without WhatsApp, ever seeing the message itself.
The magnifying glass icon sends the message data to the browser within chats without leaving the core application. If users try and open a web page that is considered harmful, they will get a warning pop-up.
Apart from this, the Facebook-owned company is testing reverse image search from within the application as well. However, the feature is still in the testing phase.
We don’t know whether the feature will eventually see a full release on WhatsApp or not. The in-browser search feature, on the other hand, has been rolled out in Brazil, Italy, Ireland, Mexico, Spain, UK, and the US for Android, iOS and WhatsApp Web, so a release everywhere else should be sometime soon.