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This week, cybersecurity solutions provider Trend Micro announced the introduction of a free platform designed to help consumers increase their online privacy and counteract misinformation.

The new app, called Pattern Micro Search, attempts to help consumers remain away from privacy leaks, false statements, and misinformation.

Trend Micro claims the introduction of this tool was inspired by the torrent of disinformation being circulated online. Trend Micro Search was previously introduced in Japan and Taiwan by the firm, which has been looking into the matter for many years.

However the latest edition introduced to the United States also incorporates a new feature from NewsGuard, which offers confidence scores for a number of news sources.

The new tool provides a Security Check that leverages threat intelligence to verify if a website or URL is fake or compromised, as well as a Privacy Check that uses the ID Security service of Trend Micro to verify if the email address of a customer has been posted on the dark web for sale.

Other features of the tool include Truth Search, which takes advantage of the Google Fact Check API to access and validate the trustworthiness of content from third-party fact-checking sources, and News Credibility Check, which offers information based on nine simple, apolitical requirements on whether news and information websites can be trusted.

The company claims Pattern Micro Check will do absolute detection in real-time, letting users respond rapidly on the basis of the data. The platform has been used 1.35 billion times to tackle disinformation and deception since its original release in Japan and Taiwan two and a half years ago.

The new tool has been made available for Facebook Messenger, WhatsApp, and Google Chrome (as an extension) in the US by Trend Micro.

In publishing and re-sharing disinformation, our culture faces one of the biggest obstacles today. “We hope that this latest tool will provide users with an additional safety net and additional resources to remain secure online, which will further provide a basis for them to evaluate what they are reading online and whether or not the websites they visit can be trusted,” said Lynette Owens, founder and global director of the Internet Safety for Kids and Families (ISKF) programme of Trend Micro.