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This article was published on August 4, 2020

WhatsApp now lets you reverse search viral messages to check if they’re bogus

WhatsApp now lets you reverse search viral messages to check if they’re bogus
Ivan Mehta
Story by

Ivan Mehta

Ivan covers Big Tech, India, policy, AI, security, platforms, and apps for TNW. That's one heck of a mixed bag. He likes to say "Bleh." Ivan covers Big Tech, India, policy, AI, security, platforms, and apps for TNW. That's one heck of a mixed bag. He likes to say "Bleh."

WhatsApp has been testing features to let you perform reverse search images and text of the message to control misinformation. Now, the company is rolling out the function to let you search a message on the web to check if a frequently forwarded message has correct information or not.

Now, you’ll see a magnifying glass next to frequently forwarded messages. You can tap on that icon to launch a search on the web to see if it’s some kind of myth that’s doing the rounds.

Notably, WhatsApp considers messages that have been forwarded more than five times in a chain as frequently forwarded messages; those messages are marked as double arrows with forwarded label on the top.

WhatsApp web search

Keep in mind that because of WhatsApp‘s end-to-end encryption, the company can’t read your messages. So, you might have to go through multiple links on the web to determine if said message is misinformative or not. Alternatively, you can check the content of the message with one of your local fact-checking organizations.

The feature is available for users in Brazil, Italy, Ireland, Mexico, Spain, UK, and the US for all versions of WhatsApp. It’s a bummer that the feature is not available in India, a country with more than 400 million WhatsApp users. 

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