Messaging app WhatsApp has steadily gained popularity through the years despite competition. Features such as group conversations, private messaging, and convenient access have granted it a following since its inception. However, it seems WhatsApp is on its way for another improvement, as it appears to be testing a new suspicious link detection feature to avoid scam.
It appears messaging application WhatsApp is currently testing a new feature designed to detect help suspicious links and avoid spam for its users. The feature, affectionately called Suspicious Link Detection, is currently being tested internally. It’s even unavailable for beta testers, making the feature quite the interesting addition to the app, if it were true.
According to the rumors, the new feature is a part of the Android version 2.18.204 of the software and later updates, although it’s not exactly available for WhatsApp’s more than 1.5-billion monthly active users to use – at least from now. This latest development from the Facebook-owned app aims to limit the circulation of fake news and spam throughout the platform.
If the Suspicious Link Detection to be launched en masse, the feature will have WhatsApp analyze links available in messages circulated among users in order to find and detect spam and other suspicious websites. If this goes according to plan, WhatsApp should be able to identify whether a particular link in a message will be redirecting users to alternative or fake sites that can potentially be harmful to users. When suspicious links are detected, the message itself will be marked with a red tab that lets users easily identify the existence of these links.
Information about the leak also highlights that the app will be warning users when they try to open a suspicious link. The warning will be a simple paragraph informing users that the link has “unusual characters” and might be attempting to appear as another website. Interestingly, this also suggests the link analysis will be done internally and not across WhatsApp servers, which theoretically can help save user data and server space.
Reports have claimed to not have spot the reported feature on any device using the more recent 2.18.207 version, suggesting that the feature is indeed still in its infancy. WIth the news that WhatsApp is currently trying the new feature, users may expect its arrival in the coming future – at least for beta users. This also means the feature may come with its own set of improvements.
Of course, whether or not the rumors of a Suspicious Link Detection is true is hard to prove. After all, the Forwarded label was also a rumored beta version feature, this time aiming to make a major dent in the circulation of fake news by helping people identify much easily if a certain message is forwarded.
The move to up the ante against fake news might be WhatsApp’s response after it was under attack in headlines this early June 2018 due to the massive misinformation spread that may have led the the “lynching” of Indian innocents because of the app. India’s Ministry of Information Technology even asked the platform to make sure preventative actions are taken that restricts the spread of fake messages throughout the application. This is especially in India, which alone contributes as much as 200-million monthly active users.
Whatsapp, on its part, said that it’s taken the help of local professionals to make sure there are newer methods to combat the spread of fake news, and even launched “research awards” for researchers and those interested in finding better ways to limit the proliferation of misinformation in India. As such, the new Suspicious Link Detection feature might be the next step after moves such as the “Send Messages” and “Forwarded” group controls and labels, respectively, that can help WhatsApp dominate the instant messaging market.
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