WhatsApp is piloting a way for users to double-check forwarded messages by uploading them through their browser – without WhatsApp seeing them.
As part of its efforts to fight misinformation on its platform, WhatsApp recently started labeling messages in chats that have been forwarded many times (forwarded through a chain of five or more chats).
The special forwarded label – a double-arrow icon – helps people know when they receive a message that was not written directly to them by close contacts. Labeled messages can only be forwarded to one chat at a time.
WhatsApp says that this is a “way to help keep conversations on WhatsApp intimate and personal” but also a way to “slow down the spread of rumors, viral messages, and fake news.”
Now, WhatsApp is piloting a way to search messages that have been forwarded many times, to double-check them. Users tap on a magnifying glass button within the chat to upload the message via their browser – without WhatsApp ever seeing the message itself.
In the announcement for the new feature, WhatsApp explained that this “may help people find news results or other sources of information about content they have received.”
Search the web is similar to another test that WhatsApp conducted last year where users could conduct reverse-image searches on images they received through the app.
The new feature is now being rolled out in Brazil, Italy, Ireland, Mexico, Spain, UK, and the US – and will be available only for users on the latest versions of WhatsApp for Android, iOS, and WhatsApp Web.
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