WhatsApp adds ability to fact-check forwarded messages with Google

During the COVID-19 pandemic, there has been a massive uptick in the number of forwarded messages in social media and instant messaging platforms. Often they contribute to the spread of misinformation, and now to help combat it, WhatsApp is testing a new feature that will let users Google search forwarded messages to check for their authenticity.

Due to the nature of social media, false information can spread very quickly, which has led to companies like Twitter label tweets that contain false information. Instant messaging apps like WhatAapp introduced features like a special double arrow label for messages that have been forwarded multiple times.

Extending on this functionality, WhatsApp is now testing a feature called “Search the Web”, where users can see a magnifying glass button next to a forwarded message. Upon clicking it, the forwarded message will be directly uploaded to Google via the browser and Google will then provide the results or other sources of information about content they were searched.

With this, users can quickly and easily authenticate the information in the forwarded message without ever sharing the message with WhatsApp itself. The feature is being tested starting today in Brazil, Italy, Ireland, Mexico, Spain, UK, and US on WhatsApp for Android, iOS and WhatsApp Web.