WhatsApp begins campaign to help users identify false news

Source: The Hitavada      Date: 11 Jul 2018 09:07:10



UNDER fire over fake and provocative messages being circulated on its platform, WhatApp on Tuesday began an awareness campaign to help users identify and prevent the spread of false information, hoax messages and fake news.
With rumours on Whatsapp triggering lynching in parts of the country, the Facebook-owned messaging service brought out full-page advertisement in leading newspapers, first in the series of its user awareness drive, giving “easy tips” to decide if information received is, indeed, true.

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”.

It said: “To fight fake news, we all need to work together - technology companies, the Government and community groups. If you see something that’s not true, make people aware and help stop the spread.”

The latest campaign by WhatsApp also outlines ways to spot false information including identifying forwarded messages (a feature that will be rolled out starting this week), coaxing users to “double check” on information using multiple sources to establish authenticity of a news or a photograph. The full-page advertisements splashed across major dailies also nudged users to question information that is meant to instil anger or fear and to think twice before sharing such messages.

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.
“Be thoughtful about what you share. If you are not sure of the source or concerned that the information may be untrue, think twice before sharing,” it said, adding that accompanying links seemingly of well-known websites should also be scoured for unusual characters.