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WhatsApp Introduces Features that Combat Misinformation Coronavirus

Last edited: March 30, 2020
Reading time: 1 minute, 55 seconds

The well-known messaging service WhatsApp is adding two features to its software that will prevent the spread of fake-news surrounding the Coronavirus. The first is that users are now able to get in contact with the World Health Organization (WHO) directly. The company is also working on a feature that allows you to Google search forwarded messages.

Fake-news Forwarded through WhatsApp

The amount of fake-news on WhatsApp has surged dramatically since the outbreak of the Coronavirus. People are often inclined to share a message with friends and family when it seems shocking or urgent. A ‘reliable source’, like a neighbor or relative sent the message to them. Forwarding it on WhatsApp is very simple. Sadly, often this information is completely fake.

Many of these messages contain tips and advice that does not come from a medical professional. As a result of one of these messages, people had closed their windows on the twenty-second of March. The message had told them that the government would spray their houses with disinfectant. This messaging is not real and is the cause of much of the misinformation out there.

Messaging with the WHO

WhatsApp wants to put the spread of this misinformation to a halt, therefore it is introducing these new features. One of these features is live already. It is now possible to get in contact with the WHO directly. WhatsApp has set up an automated account to accieve this. This account answers questions that people have about the pandemic. You can gain an insight into the spread of the virus and the number of victims. Some tips are listed to help you protect yourself from the virus. It also contains a list of myths surrounding the virus that are circulating at the moment.

Check for Fake-news

The second feature that WhatsApp will be introducing is the option to Google search a message. A magnifying glass will be pictured next to a message whenever you receive one through the messaging platform. The content of the message will automatically be entered into Google search when you click on this magnifying glass. This will make it easier and faster to find out whether a forwarded message is fact or fiction. The feature is not available to everybody yet. Only some versions of the latest WhatsApp update have this feature.

Cybersecurity analyst
David is a cyber security analyst and one of the founders of VPNoverview.com. Interested in the "digital identity" phenomenon, with special attention to the right to privacy and protection of personal data.

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