You can now access WhatsApp's suspicious link feature on Android
After announcing a slew of new features, and promising tighter security, WhatsApp is now globally rolling out a suspicious link identification feature, reports of which had surfaced earlier. The feature will be available to all WhatsApp Android beta testers using beta version 2.18.221 for now, and is soon expected on iOS and Windows Phones. Here's all about it.
About the suspicious link identifying feature
Firstly, one doesn't have to separately activate the suspicious link identification feature. The feature is incorporated in the latest beta version of WhatsApp on Android, and if you have that version, WhatsApp will automatically identify suspicious and potentially harmful links. It works by analyzing the characters in links, and identifying other unusual patterns noticed in a web address. Suspicious links are marked in red.
Everything is done locally, no data sent/received from servers
Notably, the suspicious link feature on WhatsApp detects and labels links as 'suspicious' locally, within your device, owing to the security offered by end-to-end chat encryption by WhatsApp. In simpler terms, no data is read from WhatsApp or Facebook servers to verify if the link is suspicious. This ensures greater privacy for users.
The move comes on the backdrop of growing minsinformation-induced lynchings
The move comes after pressure from the government on WhatsApp regarding the nuisance of fake information and news being circulated via the messaging platform. WhatsApp has already introduced a label on forwarded messages, and plans to introduce other security and anti-fake news features too. Over the past year, fake forwards on WhatsApp have incited over 30 mob lynching incidents in the country.