In its fight against fakes news (misinformation and disinformation), Facebook-owned WhatsApp is piloting a new feature which it says is a "simple way to double-check these messages by tapping a magnifying glass button in the chat." How it works is that when a user receives a message that has been forwarded many times, they will have the option to tap the magnifying glass next to the message and they will then be present with web search results around the same message for them to verify if it is factual or not.

Earlier in 2020 WhatsApp introduced a feature to limit the number of times a message can be forwarded. This, the company said at the time, was also to fight the spread of fake news.

"We’re piloting a simple way to double check these messages by tapping a magnifying glass button in the chat. Providing a simple way to search messages that have been forwarded many times may help people find news results or other sources of information about content they have received. This feature works by allowing users to upload the message via their browser without WhatsApp ever seeing the message itself," reads a statement by WhatsApp.

How the new WhatsApp feature will work to help users verify forwarded messages.

The feature is a commendable one as far as the fight against fake news goes in that it encourages users to think critically and analytically by always verifying the messages they read before forwarding them. Making it easier for users to do this verification within WhatsApp is a better UX (User Experience) than expecting users to open their web browsers every time a message is forwarded to them.

WhatsApp has said that the "Search the web" is first being rolled as a pilot Β in Brazil, Italy, Ireland, Mexico, Spain, UK, and US.

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