WhatsApp Starts Testing ‘Suspicious Link Detection’ Feature to Limit Spam Circulation: Report

WhatsApp Starts Testing 'Suspicious Link Detection' Feature to Limit Spam Circulation: Report

HIGHLIGHTS

  • WhatsApp is reportedly testing a Suspicious Link Detection feature
  • The feature helps detect suspicious links
  • It is currently under testing and unavailable even for beta testers

In another move to put a stop to the circulation of spam on its platform, WhatsApp is working on a Suspicious Link Detection feature. The new feature, which is presently said to be under testing, helps users detect suspicious links available within their WhatsApp messages. It is a part of the WhatsApp beta for Android version 2.18.204 and later, though not available for the masses at the initial stage. The latest development hits amidst different measures by the Facebook-owned company to limit the circulation of spam and fake news through the instant messaging app that has over 1.5 billion monthly active users worldwide. A previous WhatsApp beta version brought a ‘Forwarded’ label that was aimed to make a dent in the growth of fake news distribution through the app and help people easily identify forwarded messages.

Leveraging the Suspicious Link Detection feature, WhatsApp analyses the links available in a message to detect a suspicious link, reports WABetaInfo. The messaging app is said to automatically identify whether the link in a received message is redirecting to a fake or alternative website that could potentially harm users. Upon detection of a suspicious link, the message is marked with a Red-coloured label to let users easily understand its behaviour.

The screenshots posted by the WABetaInfo folks highlight that WhatsApp also warns users when they try to open the link with a message that reads, “This link contains unusual characters. It may be trying to appear as another site.” It has also been claimed that WhatsApp analyses the link locally. This suggests that the links will not be sent to WhatsApp servers and the user data won’t be compromised for sake of detecting suspicious links.

whatsapp suspicious link detection wabetainfo WhatsApp

Photo Credit: WABetaInfo

 

We weren’t able to spot the reported Suspicious Link Detection feature on any of our Android devices using the latest WhatsApp beta version 2.18.207. However, since the WABetaInfo team claims that WhatsApp is currently testing the feature, we can expect its arrival at least for WhatsApp beta users sometime in the coming future. It is also reported that with some other improvements, the feature will also get an ability to let users manually report a suspicious link.

Earlier this month, WhatsApp came in the headlines for the massive spread of misinformation that allegedly led to the lynching of a large number of innocents in India. The IT ministry even asked WhatsApp to take preventative actions to restrict the proliferation of fake messages on its platform. The messaging service on its part revealed that it had started taking help from local experts to fight spam and fake news and announced ‘research awards’ for researchers interested in limiting the circulation of misinformative messages in the country. This was a step in addition to the primary moves such as the ‘Forwarded’ label and ‘Send Messages’ group controls to retain WhatsApp’s domination in the market of instant messaging apps. Particularly in India, WhatsApp serves over 200 million monthly active users.

[“Source-gadgets.ndtv”]

WhatsApp Launches Media Blitz to Dispel India’s Fake News Woes

WhatsApp Launches Media Blitz to Dispel India's Fake News Woes

A newspaper vendor reading a newspaper with a full back page advertisement from WhatsApp

Facebook’s WhatsApp messaging platform on Tuesday published advertisements in key Indian newspapers to tackle the spread of misinformation, its first such effort to combat a flurry of fake messages that prompted mob lynchings.

Beatings and deaths triggered by false incendiary messages in India, WhatsApp’s biggest market with more than 200 million users, caused a public relations nightmare, sparking calls from authorities for immediate action.

“Together we can fight false information,” read full-page advertisements in some top English language-newspapers, part of a series that will also feature in regional-language dailies.

It urged users to check information before sharing it and cautioned them about the spread of fake news.

“We are starting an education campaign in India on how to spot fake news and rumours,” a WhatsApp spokesman said in a statement.

“Our first step is placing newspaper advertisements in English and Hindi and several other languages. We will build on these efforts.”

During the week, it aims to publish similar advertisements in regional dailies across India, from the states of Gujarat, Maharashtra and Rajasthan in the west to the most populous state of Uttar Pradesh in the north, it added.

WhatsApp has previously said it is tweaking features and giving users controls in its effort to rein in false messages.

It is also testing the labelling of messages to show users when a message received is just a forward, rather than one created by the sender.

[“Source-gadgets.ndtv”]

WhatsApp Group Calling Now Rolling Out to Select Android Beta, iOS Users

WhatsApp Group Calling Now Rolling Out to Select Android Beta, iOS Users

HIGHLIGHTS

  • Few WhatsApp for iOS 2.18.52 users have received group video calling
  • Same goes for very few Android beta version 2.18.145 and above users
  • A new Add participant button shows up in WhatsApp video call

At the F8 keynote, it was announced that the Facebook-owned WhatsApp is getting the group calling feature soon. Now, a few users are reporting that they are seeing the feature in their Android and iOS app, and are able to use it. Mind you, very few users are reporting this update, and it doesn’t mean that the official roll out has begun. WhatsApp is the biggest messaging app in the world, with over a billion active users globally.

WABetaInfo reports that few users on WhatsApp iOS version 2.18.52 and Android beta version 2.18.145 and above can see group video calling activated. This feature is not officially rolled out yet, and it does not work on the invitation system either. Users just have to be very lucky to see this feature, and WhatsApp seems to have randomly picked a segment of users to test this feature with. In any case, this does mean that the group calling feature is coming to WhatsApp Android and iOS real soon.

For all those lucky users who have it, they now see an Add Participant icon on the top right window after making a video call to one person. Clicking on that icon allows you to add up to three more people to the video call. The screen then splits into four halves for a proper group video call.

WhatsApp has rolled out the new iOS version 2.18.52 to all users, and you can check for an update on the App Store. After updating the app, you can go ahead and see if you have the video calling feature activated or not by following the above mentioned method. If you do see it, then let us know your first impressions in the comment section below!

[“Source-gadgets.ndtv”]

WhatsApp Message Delete Feature Reportedly Fixed to Prevent Exploits

WhatsApp Message Delete Feature Reportedly Fixed to Prevent Exploits

WhatsApp has plugged some of the gaps in Delete for Everyone feature with a new update

HIGHLIGHTS

  • WhatsApp has silently improved ‘Delete for Everyone’ feature
  • There is an upgraded algorithm to block revoke requests for some users
  • WhatsApp for iOS has extended the delete message feature

WhatsApp has silently improved the ‘Delete for Everyone’ feature with an ability to block revoke requests for some users. The new improvement emerges days after the WhatsApp beta for Android received an update to give users 4,096 seconds to delete a message – a substantial increase over the original seven-minute window. That 4,096-second limit had reportedly been exploited using a modded version of WhatsApp following its launch to delete messages that were even three years old. It had also been exploited to let anyone, not just the sender, delete messages.

The instant messaging app has now, therefore, added a ‘Block revoke request’ feature. WhatsApp for iPhone has also separately been updated with an extended Delete for Everyone limit to one hour, eight minutes, and 16 seconds.

As spotted by folks at WABetaInfo, WhatsApp has upgraded the algorithm it uses to pass the revoke request. Now, if the upgraded algorithm receives a revoke request, it checks its database for a message with the same ID, and then checks if the current date is less than 24 hours when when the message was sent, and only then proceeds to delete the message – using the same ID that had been generated previously. This makes the feature to delete message restricted to the official limit and doesn’t allow any modded versions to extend the limit through an unofficial means.

That being said, WhatsApp for iPhone has officially been updated to version 2.18.31 with the same extension for the Delete for Everyone feature to one hour, eight minutes, and 16 seconds that we last saw in the beta. This notably gives a room for making temporary conversations on WhatsApp, similar to what has been offered by other compelling messaging apps.

You can visit Apple App Store to download the latest WhatsApp for iPhone. The new version additionally brings some bug fixes, as reported by WABetaInfo.

[“Source-gadgets.ndtv”]