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


To recall, a series of lynching incidents around India triggered by fake or doctored WhatsApp forwards prompted the Indian government to instruct WhatsApp to look into the matter with due diligence.

The new feature will help users identify suspicious links shared within the platform. In recent times, there has been a spurt of mob violence in various parts of India, induced by fake messages passed on through WhatsApp. "As a reminder, you can report spam or block a contact in one tap and can always reach out to WhatsApp directly for help".

"Like the government of India, we're horrified by these awful acts of violence and wanted to respond quickly to the very important issues you have raised". The Information and Technology ministry had recently written to WhatsApp to come up with technical measures to control fake news. The text informs you that the link contains unusual characters and may be trying to appear as another site. It started with the publication of several full-page advertisements in English, Hindi and regional languages in newspapers across the country - a strategy that borrows from Facebook's own public relations playbook.

According to a report by WABetainfo, the new feature will restrict the spam circulation by scanning the links that are being sent or received by the users.

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WhatsApp's tips include checking with other sources, looking up photos online that may be edited, and thinking twice before forwarding a message you have doubts about. "We will build on these efforts".

Group admins can make a decision and even limit other users from sending messages in a specific group. Misinformation spread through the app has been linked to the mob killing of multiple men who were targeted by false rumors accusing them of kidnapping children.

Apart from these in-platform changes, WhatsApp has released a 10-point circular on major newspapers circulated across the country.

Prior to its launch, WhatsApp had been beta testing the forwarded label in India - the Facebook-owned platform's largest market, with more than 200 million users.