Is Whatsapp Testing Suspicious Link Detection Feature To Curb Spam, Fake News?

The new feature will help users identify suspicious links shared within the platform

The new feature will help users identify suspicious links shared within the platform

Facebook owned messaging service WhatsApp on July 10 published full-page advertisements in Indian dailies in a bid to counter fake information that has sparked mob lynching attacks across the country.

If a suspicious link is detected, it will be shown with a red label, and if you try and open the link, you'll be shown a pop-up window warning you again.

The product change is significant for WhatsApp, which rarely changes its user interface - and it comes in close succession to a series of other steps the company has taken in recent weeks to address its fake news problem.

Instances of lynching of innocent people have been noticed recently because of large number of irresponsible and explosive messages filled with rumours and provocation are being circulated on WhatsApp. Subscribers are also warned to check photos and videos as well.

The feature will indicate which messages you receive have been forwarded to you in the group or individually. "This extra context will help make one-on-one and group chats easier to follow".

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Sharing links on WhatsApp has become one way of sharing information on the social media platform.

Indeed, reports emerged earlier this year that WhatsApp was testing a feature to curb the spread of chain hoax messaging, but at that time the feature apparently only flagged messages that had been "forwarded many times".

A stern statement issued by the electronics and IT ministry late on Tuesday expressed the government's "deep disapproval" to the senior management of WhatsApp over the "irresponsible and explosive messages". Besides this, the app's Android beta version has another measure to stem the flow of spam - labeling forwarded messages as forwards. The report highlights that WhatsApp will analyse the link locally and not data will be sent to WhatsApp servers in order to detect the suspicious link.

In fact, the "news" of 5000 kidnappers entering South India was also shared by various regional news outlets, further adding to the hysteria. Instagram has added a notification called "You're All Caught Up" that lets users know if they've seen everything posted within the last 48 hours.

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