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WhatsApp: New search feature against misinformation

WhatsApp is testing a new feature that allows users to quickly search the content of viral messages to check if it is misinformation, the company announced.

From today, a magnifying glass icon will appear next to messages promoted through a chain of five or more individuals. By clicking on the icon, you will be able to search the content of the message on the internet and check if it is one of the common conspiracy theories or misinformation.

In a screenshot of it feature released by WhatsApp, the app uses the example of a viral message claiming that "eating fresh boiled garlic will cure COVID-19». A web search shows three fact-checking sites that indicate this claim to be incorrect. In March, the CNN reported that medical misinformation was a serious problem for the messaging service belonging to the Facebook.


Facebook's attempts to control WhatsApp messages are complicated by end-to-end encryption, which prevents the tech giant from seeing the content of the messages sent with the service.

With the new search feature, WhatsApp allows users to control their information, instead of the app scamming messages about common conspiracy theories. WhatsApp reports that any message a user selects for a search is sent directly to Browser of "without WhatsApp ever seeing the message itself".

This is the latest measure taken by WhatsApp to try to stop the spread of misinformation on its platform. In April he set new limits in their promotion viral messages. After the changes, viral messages can only be forwarded to one more person, instead of the previous limit of five. WhatsApp later reported that the measure had reduced their spread by 70%, although it is impossible to know how many of these messages contained misinformation.

The new search feature is now available on iOS, Android and Internet Brazil, Italy, Ireland, Mexico, Spain, the United Kingdom and USA.


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