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WhatsApp integrates fact-checking option for forwarded messages

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WhatsApp has added the ability for UK users to quickly carry out a web search to check the veracity of claims made in messages forwarded to them.

The trial feature, 'Search the web', is rolling out in several other countries as well as the UK today, where users will see a magnifying glass icon next to forwarded messages that appear in chats.

Tapping the icon opens a Google search for the content they want to fact check, bringing up other information sources about the message.

This feature works by allowing users to upload the message via their browser without WhatsApp ever seeing the message itself.

The messaging service, owned and run by Facebook, already provided a special forwarded label to messages shared in chats that have been forwarded many times.

The two arrows help people know when they’ve received a message that was not written by a close contact. Earlier this year, limits were set on how many times they can be sent at once.

'Search the web' is being rolled out starting today in Brazil, Italy, Ireland, Mexico, Spain, the UK and the US for those on the latest versions of WhatsApp for Android, iOS and WhatsApp Web.

“Providing a simple way to search messages that have been forwarded many times may help people find news results or other sources of information about content they have received,” WhatsApp said.

Despite WhatsApp being launched in 2009 with over two billion users in 2020, the service has still yet to find a true path to monetisation.

Facebook was planning to introduce ads into the status feed earlier this year, although it reportedly abandoned this idea following strong user backlash.

In 2018, it launched a business orientated version of the app that many saw as a move towards eventual monetisation.

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