New updates are constantly coming through WhatsApp and the platform are especially focusing on helping stop the spread of false information.
While fake messages spreading misinformation have plagued WhatsApp for years, the COVID-19 pandemic has pushed the platform to make it easier to identify chain messages and verify their validity.
The new tool implemented by WhatsApp allows users to check their messages by pressing a magnifying glass icon that appears next to the chat bubble. This opens the browser and executes a search on the topic mentioned.
This “Search the Web” feature aims to help users do their own research on a topic, rather than believing all messages sent to them. There are obvious drawbacks as conspiracy theories are posted on sites that appear in Google searches like “real” news.
WhatsApp is also assuring users that the feature doesn’t contradict their strict privacy terms and won’t allow the company to see the messages.
So far the feature has only been rolled out in selected countries, not including South Africa.