New WhatsApp feature to fight suspicious links and more

Cheryl Sanders
July 10, 2018

The feature appears to be part of WhatsApp's efforts to address the issue of fake messages on its platform that have reportedly led to mob lynchings and mob beatings in India. Secondly, forwarded messages will be demarcated clearly in order to help users understand where the message is coming from.

A rash of deadly lynchings in India has a popular messaging app taking aim at fake news.

Cautioning its users about fake news, the ad shared things to keep in mind at the time of receiving and sharing the messages.

Following 29 deaths in India, that were attributed by some to WhatsApp fake news, parent company Facebook has created a way to help avoid bad link sharing in the future.

"Do not pay attention to the number of times you receive the message", it reads.

The full-page ads, which ran in English, Hindi and other languages in daily papers, include tips for spotting fake news messages on WhatsApp. The new feature is known as Send Messages and it is rolling out to Android, iOS and Windows Phone users across the globe. Moving forward, WhatsApp will check automatically the genuineness of the site links that are being forwarded via its forthcoming "Suspicious Link" function.

"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 Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology on July 2 had written to WhatsApp asking it to take immediate steps to prevent the circulation of false information and provocative content, and emphasised that the company "cannot evade accountability and responsibility".

Most recently a mob surrounded and killed five men in Maharashtra state denounced as child kidnappers, a pernicious rumor blamed for similar murders in at least 11 Indian states.

With over 250 million userbase, a messaging platform can be vulnerable in spreading any news deliberately or non-deliberately.

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