Updated: July 21, 2018 3:47:01 pm
In a bid to curb the spread of misinformation, WhatsApp is testing a ‘suspicious link detection’ feature, which was made available for a limited set of users in WhatsApp Android beta 2.18.204. Now, the feature is available for all Android beta testers, though they will have to update WhatsApp app to version 2.18.221, according to a report in WABetaInfo. In addition, the Facebook-owned company has put out a post explaining how the feature works.
WhatsApp has rolled out a suspicious link indicator or a red suspicious link label that will warn users of a link that might contain a “combination of characters that is considered unusual”. “Spammers may use these character combinations to trick you into tapping on links that appear to go to a legitimate website, but actually take you to a malicious site,” the post reads.
WhatsApp says it automatically performs checks to determine if a link is suspicious and the checks take place on a user’s device for privacy reasons. Remember, WhatsApp is end-to-end encrypted, something that was announced by the company in 2014. When users click on links that are marked suspicious, they will have two options – either to open the link or go back. WhatsApp will display a message that reads, “This link contains unusual characters. It may be trying to appear as another site.”
WhatsApp ‘suspicious link detection’ feature is aimed at identifying and curbing the circulation of links that redirect to a fake or alternative website. A red label is likely to help reduce forwards of malicious links that claim to give away free stuff, recharge coupons, etc but are actually phishing attempts by hackers. It is also expected to make users mindful of what they are clicking on.
Another feature called ‘Forwarded label’ was made available to all WhatsApp users recently. It tags forwarded messages as ‘Forwarded’, which is aimed to give more clarity to users whether a message has been composed by the sender or is forwarded. This has been done to limit the spread of spam and misinformation on its platform. In addition, WhatsApp is testing a feature to restrict forwards to five people. It will also remove the quick forward button from media messages in India.
📣 The Indian Express is now on Telegram. Click here to join our channel (@indianexpress) and stay updated with the latest headlines
- The Indian Express website has been rated GREEN for its credibility and trustworthiness by Newsguard, a global service that rates news sources for their journalistic standards.