Whatsapp offers 'easy tips' to tackle fake news in India

Pauline Gross
July 10, 2018

WhatsApp has enjoyed several new features this year, but the Facebook-owned team isn't stopping there.

To this end, WhatsApp has announced a new research awards program for social science and misinformation.

It cautions the users to "look out for messages that look different" and to watch out for signs like spelling mistakes in order to determine accuracy of information circulated.

We will keep you updated, as receive more information about Whatsapp's anti-fake news and anti-spam initiatives. Much like the "Pizzagate" incident in 2016, Indian residents reacted violently to claims that people in their area were abducting children or harvesting organs. "Double check the facts when you're not sure who wrote the original message", it warns.

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Reuters reports that the first batch of WhatsApp fake ads are running in "key Indian newspapers", and images posted to Twitter show an English-language full-page advert - so you do have to question who these first ads are really meant to influence. "And if the answer is yes, think twice before sharing it again", reads the tip.

The company had said, "We have been testing a new label in India that highlights when a message has been forwarded versus composed by the sender". According to WhatsApp, "many messages containing hoaxes or fake news have spelling mistakes". One of its major initiatives kicked off today, in the form of an ad campaign in national newspapers in various languages, that lists a number of steps people can take to battle misinformation. The feature can help users to detect whether a sent or received link is trustworthy. In a statement, Whatsapp said in part that it is "horrified by these awful acts of violence".

On a related note, WhatsApp is attempting hard to stop the danger of false news being spread for quite some time on its platform.

WhatsApp - in its response to the notice sent by India's IT Ministry - said it has the ability to prevent spam but since it cannot see the content of private messages, blocking can be done only based on user reports.

Other reports by GizPress

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