#StayHome: WhatsApp, WHO Announce Official Coronavirus Helpline, Aims to Reduce Misinformation

Ruben Fields
March 25, 2020

To battle this, WhatsApp is now testing a feature that will help users verify the information that's being spread on the platform.

With the Covid-19 outbreak, many cities around the world are on lockdown and people have been adviced to stay home, to reduce the risk of spreading and contracting the virus. As lovely as it seems the new feature, the fact that WhatsApp succeeded in implementing an update under development so quickly, it's admiring. According to WABetaInfo, the 2.20.94 version of the app has a new 'Search Messages On The Web ' feature that gives users one-tap access to verify facts using the Google search engine.

If you continue, the entire message would be searched on Google.

Some users shared screenshots to show that they noticed a search icon in front of the regularly forwarded messages. This can be done by tapping a search icon that appears next to forwarded messages. "This will upload the message on Google".

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Some fans were understanding of the situation but others showed their disappointment at the delay of the final episode. That premiere will also happen later this year, but the network hasn't offered a specific date when it will air now.

The Facebook-owned cross-messaging platform has been working on the feature for a while. The user can either tap on the "Search Web" button or cancel. This created a rather sharp problem of fake news and misinformation for WhatsApp leading up to key global elections such as India's 2019 Lok Sabha elections, and United States' 2016 Presidential elections.

Prior to this, WhatsApp had also launched a feature that lets users see the number of times a message has been "forwarded".
The feature has reportedly been rolled out over the weekend to beta users. Once we receive this feature, we will be definitely checking if the news is fake before forwarding it to more people.

The feature is now in testing and it could be useful in the ongoing coronavirus pandemic which has seen a spike in fake news claiming everything from the cure of coronavirus to ways to prevent it, all of which are fake and are being circulated online.

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