by Elton Gomes
Messaging app WhatsApp is currently working on two new features for Android and iOS users. According to media reports, the Facebook-owned company is working on Swipe to Reply feature, which exists for iOS users. WhatsApp now plans to introduce this feature to Android users. It also plans to introduce the Dark Mode feature which is currently undergoing some testing for both Android and iOS users.
What are the two new features?
Swipe to reply. The Swipe to reply feature already exists for iOS users, and WhatsApp is planning to bring it to Android users. Through this feature, one can simply right swipe the message they wish to reply to and the message will load in the reply context.
Dark Mode. WhatsApp plans to introduce the Dark Mode feature to both Android as well as iOS users. This feature has the tendency to reduce strain on the eyes, particularly when a device is being used at night or during the dark. WhatsApp has not provided an official timeline as to when the feature could be revealed.
What other features were released in 2018?
WhatsApp has released several updates in a bid to attract more users in 2018. The messaging app recently announced that group video call and voice calling has been made official for Android and iOS. The feature was in testing for over a month and only supports group calls that have four persons. Based on the Indian government-backed UPI or Unified Payments Interface, WhatsApp launched WhatsApp Payments—a simple way to conduct transactions by entering in your UPI pin.
In an attempt to crackdown on fake news, WhatsApp released a feature that labeled messages and indicated those messages that have been forwarded to you. WhatsApp was also testing a ‘suspicious link detection’ feature. The feature was available for all Android beta testers, but they will have to update WhatsApp app to version 2.18.221, as per a report in WABetaInfo.
WhatsApp and fake news
After witnessing a spate of lynchings in the country, the Indian government warned WhatsApp to come up with solutions to curb the spread of misinformation. WhatsApp began its crackdown on fake news with a print ad in India’s newspapers. The campaign urged readers to exercise caution before forwarding any message on the platform.
In August, WhatsApp CEO Chris Daniels met Union IT minister Ravi Shankar Prasad to discuss the problem of fake news. Prasad pressed Daniels to use technology to somehow stop the dissemination of unwanted information on the app. Prasad wanted WhatsApp to track the origin of messages to tackle the fake news menace. Daniels, however, said that doing so would be against the company’s regulations, though he agreed with the other conditions put forward by Prasad.
Thereafter, WhatsApp took their anti-fake news campaign to 46 Hindi radio stations across India. The radio campaign began in Bihar, Jharkhand, Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, Rajasthan, Uttar Pradesh, and Uttarakhand, and would caution users against forwarding messages that contain misinformation. In September, WhatsApp said that it was expanding its radio campaign to 10 more states, including Maharashtra, Andhra Pradesh, and West Bengal.
Elton Gomes is a staff writer at Qrius