- WhatsApp is reportedly working on a new feature called Search Messages On The Web.
- The feature is part of WhatsApp Beta for Android 2.20.94 and is under development.
- If WhatsApp rolls out this feature, it will help users identify fake news by double-checking forwarded messages.
WhatsApp forwards can be exhausting to deal with. Especially with the plethora of information available everywhere, fake news is not difficult to come across. It would not be wrong to say that a lot of misinformation and fake news comes on and through WhatsApp. Some people even cite it as their source, when the truth could be entirely different. Now WhatsApp is working to tackle fake news and rumours on its platform through a new feature called Search Message On The Web.
Yes, a lot of fact checkers are working to combat fake news. But what if the main source from where this information is coming could be reversed? Wouldn't it be more convenient for users to nip the source of fake news in the bud? That is what WhatsApp seems to be thinking.
WhatsApp, which is a Facebook company, through Google Play Beta Program recently submitted an update in which it stated that it could bring a new version with a new feature called Search Message.
The version, WhatsApp beta for Android 2.20.94, may bring in a feature that will help WhatsApp users combat fake news and misinformation. The feature called Search Messages On The Web will direct a user to check if a message is true or authentic. It has not been very long since WhatsApp started labelling text messages, photos or videos as forwarded. This is one of the determining factors that would help the user track information which could be misleading.
According to Wabetainfo, WhatsApp had earlier announced that a feature was under development, and this feature would have determined if an image shared on WhatsApp was authentic or not. This feature was, however, not rolled out. It was to come in the 2.19.73 beta update.
But now, even as the image search feature has been put on the back-burner, the search functionality for text messaging is coming. It is already part of beta, is under testing and may roll out in coming months. Users must note that the feature will work on frequently forwarded messages. In order to use this feature, the user will be required to click on the message which they want to check online. After they do this, a search button will appear.
After tapping on that icon, WhatsApp will present the user with a pop-up, "Would you like to search this on the web? This will upload the message on Google." If the user clicks on the "Search web" option, a Google window with the WhatsApp forward will appear. From this, the user will be able to verify if the information on the forward is correct or not.
WhatsApp is constantly adding new features. Recently, the company added dark mode to the app, meeting a demand that users raised months ago, and bringing the app in sync with the design features of both Android and iOS that offer users dark mode.