WhatsApp begins testing 'suspicious link detection' feature to tackle fake news

What WhatsApp is doing to is running a background check of every link being shared on the platform.

WhatsApp has recently been in the news for being called up by the Indian government for not doing enough to tackle the fake news problem that has, incidentally, led to at least 27 deaths in India so far. Finally deciding to tackle the problem, WhatsApp is testing a tool that could help fish out fake news.

WhatsApp begins testing suspicious link detection feature to tackle fake news

WhatsApp's suspicious link detection tool being tested. Image: WABetaInfo

According to a recent blog post by WABetaInfo, a source that closely tracks new feature additions to the chat app, WhatsApp has just submitted a new update through the Google Play Beta Program, bringing the version up to 2.18.206.

Diving into the update, not a lot seems to have changed apart from what is being referred to as a "suspicious link detection" feature spotted on only a few devices so far. The feature is a long way from being finished and from being included as part of a stable build.

Going by early impressions found online, the feature appears to be a pretty simple one on the surface. All WhatsApp is going to do is run a background check of every link being shared on the platform to verify whether the information is true. If not, a "Suspicious Link" flag will pop up against the link. If one decides to ignore the flag and still click to open the link anyway, WhatsApp again throws up an alert asking the user if they want to proceed.

The blog post claims that every time WhatsApp analyses a link, it does it locally without sending any data packets to its servers.

There's been no word from WhatsApp on when we could see this feature being made official.

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