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WhatsApp takes steps to prevent the spread of fake news

Patrick Devaney


WhatsApp found itself in hot water recently due to the spread of fake news across its messaging platform. The problem became so acute, that the Indian government called out the Facebook-owned company. Many Indians have died due to fake news reports sent via WhatsApp, and the government had had enough. WhatsApp responded that it has been working on halting the problem, but it has come to light that it is currently working on a new feature to address the issue.

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According to WhatsApp experts, WABetaInfo, WhatsApp is testing a new feature that will highlight suspicious links. The latest beta version of the app, submitted to the Google Play Beta Program, is very similar to older versions, with the only real difference being the new suspicious link detection feature.

Image via: WABetaInfo – WhatsApp is testing a Suspicious Link flagging feature

The feature isn’t too complicated, but it could make a difference. WhatsApp will run background checks on all links shared across the platform. The check will determine whether the information contained in the link is accurate or not. Any link failing the WhatsApp verification test will receive a Suspicious Link flag. A second warning will flash up for anybody who decides to ignore the first flag and clicks the link anyway. According to WABetaInfo, the checks will be carried out on individual devices so they won’t consume extra user data.

Image via: WABetaInfo – Users will who ignore the first warning and click a suspicious link will receive a second warning before the link opens

For now, this new feature is still a long way from a broader rollout to all users. It still has a lot of development ahead of it before it‘ll be stable enough to come to the primary version of the app. This shows, however, that WhatsApp is taking its fake news problem seriously and is actively searching for solutions.

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