WhatsApp suggests ways to combat fake news

WhatsApp suggests ways to combat fake news

WhatsApp suggests ways to combat fake news

In response, WhatsApp had informed the government that fake news, misinformation and hoaxes can be checked by the government, civil society and technology companies "working together". According to the blog post, the feature will help users in identifying suspicious links (both sent and received) by automatically detecting whether the URL leads to a fake/malicious website or not. It's a small shift for the messaging platform, but potentially one that could make a big difference in the way people transmit information, especially dubious viral content, over the app. The steps are being taken after reports of mob lynchings across the country that were triggered by WhatsApp messages being spread maliciously. "As a reminder, you can report spam or block a contact in one tap and always reach out to WhatsApp directly for help", it added.

In its ads, WhatsApp lists ten points on what users should look out for in messages, to know when fake news is being spread on the platform.

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

The full-page ads, which ran in English, Hindi and other languages in daily papers, include tips for spotting fake news messages on WhatsApp. WhatsApp told Poynter it plans to build on those efforts in the future.

WhatsApp has started rolling out a feature that will indicate to users which messages they receive were forwarded by as is the sender. It suggests ways to distinguish forwarded messages from original ones and then "question the information that upsets you". The app also restricted the dissemination of false messages through a 'Send Messages' permissions feature for groups that allow group admins to limit participants from sending messages.

Just yesterday, Google-owned YouTube pledged $25 million to support and highlight legitimate news sources, while last month Facebook revealed it was extending its fact-checking program to more countries.

While the Law and order machinery is taking steps to apprehend the culprits, the abuse of platform like WhatsApp for repeated circulation of such provocative content are equally a matter of deep concern.

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