WhatsApp to get this feature to curb COVID-19 fake news
Facebook-owned Whatsapp is reportedly testing a crucial feature that will enable people to see whether the forwarded message in their inbox is true or misinformation.
It has released a new ‘Search Messages On The Web’feature in the latest 2.20.94 to Android-based WhatsApp beta. This feature apparently helps people to copy and paste the information in the forwarded message to the Google search engine and verify it, WABetaInfo, community blog reported.
It can be noted that WhatsApp has been testing a similar search (only images) feature to combat fake news for a couple of years. It actually started after a series of vigilante cases of people lynching immigrant workers misinterpreting them as child-lifters. The Indian government had asked WhatsApp to come up with an action plan to curb the spread of misinformation on its messenger app.
After that, WhatsApp has been proactively posting ads on print and online media channels to inform people about the importance of verifying messages they get on the messenger app. Also, it restricted the number of forwarding messages option for one person to just five per day.
Now, with coronavirus infection increasing every day around the world, misinformation about the global pandemic may create panic among people and also in some instances, they may become negligent as the COVID-19 would harm only old and the young children. Also, we are seeing reports of panic buying of toilet papers in Europe, America, and Australia.
If the feature is not released soon enough, this may further fuel unrest not just in India, but around the world as well.
It would be great if WhatsApp brings the forward message verification feature as early as possible.
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