Instant messaging app Whatsapp on Tuesday introduced a new feature called ‘Search the Web’ in its latest attempt to fix the menacing problem of fake news. Whatsapp said on its official website that it is introducing this new pilot feature in selected countries including Italy, Brazil, U.S, Ireland, Mexico, Spain and U.K. Residents in these countries using latest version of Whatsapp will be able enjoy this new feature on their Android and IOS devices.
India is certainly missing from this list but reports claim that the Facebook owned app may introduce this new feature in the Indian market in next couple of days.
Whatsapp users can use the Search The Web feature by clicking on the magnifying glass that will be showed right next to the forwarded messages. This will allow the users to directly upload the message on their web browser and check the authenticity of the forwarded news by verifying their source of information.
If the source of information is a credible news portal or a news publication then users can be rest assured that the forwarded message inclusive of news/information is not fake. In case users are not able to detect the source of information through this new feature then users can raise the red flag over the legitimacy of the news.
Whatsapp has categorically said that this new rolled out feature does not harm its end-to-end encryption capabilities. The instant messaging giant has maintained that it won’t be able to see the messages that users will be searching for on their web browsers.
Over the years, the Facebook-owned app has been under immense pressure to curb the spread of fake news. The fake news problem has also acquired political prominence as the role of fake news and misinformation has come under scanner especially during election times. To contain this ragging problem, Whatsapp has already put a cap on forwarded messages.
Whatsapp has shown on its official website how users can use this new feature through visual depiction. Below is the screenshot of this visual depiction.
Meanwhile, in another important development, Whatsapp has said that it will soon launch its much-anticipated payment feature in the Indian market. Whatsapp has reportedly said that UPI regulatory body NPCI is fully satisfied with its compliance with RBI’s guidelines on data localization. However, the instant messaging giant has not given any exact timeline about the launch date.