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WhatsApp gets suspicious link detection to fight spam and dodgy websites

The feature will mark suspect websites with a red warning label.

Published onJuly 9, 2018

The WhatsApp logo on Android.
  • WhatsApp has reportedly received a feature to detect suspicious website links.
  • The feature will mark suspect websites with a red warning label while tapping the link will show another warning.
  • Dodgy websites aren’t the only issue, as the platform has been fighting hoax news messages for a while now.

WhatsApp has enjoyed several new features this year, but the Facebook-owned team isn’t stopping there. According to WABetaInfo, the app is now receiving suspicious link detection functionality.

The outlet reports that version 2.18.206 of WhatsApp has brought the new feature to the table. I don’t seem to have it on my phone (version 2.18.207) but it apparently works as you’d expect, as the app highlights a suspicious link with a red label.

WhatsApp suspicious link functionality.

“This link contains unusual characters. It may be trying to appear as another site,” reads a second warning upon tapping the link in question. Nevertheless, users are free to continue to the website anyway. According to WABetaInfo, the link detection is done locally rather than being sent to WhatsApp servers.

We do wonder what exactly is WhatsApp’s definition of a suspicious website though. Will it also detect fake news websites trying to piggyback off the name of a legitimate news source, or will it be exclusively target phishing websites, or sites with dodgy security measures or a ton of spam?

You can now automatically hide those dodgy WhatsApp photos from your gallery
The WhatsApp logo.

Malicious website links aren’t the only issue WhatsApp has had to wrangle with recently. The Facebook-owned firm coming under fire for its handling of hoax messages that have been cited as the reason for several people being killed by mobs in India.

In response to the killings and government criticism, the Facebook-owned platform will reportedly roll out a feature that helps users determine when a message is forwarded rather than written by the sender. The company has also teamed up with an Indian fact-checking group to fight hoax news stories. WhatsApp also revealed a new feature last month, which only allows administrators to post messages in a group.

Is this a step in the right direction for WhatsApp? Are there any other issues you’d like to see the company address? Let us know in the comments below!

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