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Battle against fake news gets intense as social media app Helo joins the brigade

Rashi Varshney
13th Dec 2018
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Social media app Helo has joined the brigade of social media platforms to battle against fake news. The New Delhi-headquartered vernacular social platform Helo has partnered with Alt News, a fact-checking company, with an aim to create a safe environment for the exchange of perspectives and information, given the personalised and localised vernacular content on its platform.

Launched by Chinese content giant ByteDance, Helo is available in 14 vernacular languages including Hindi, Telugu, Tamil, Malayalam. The Helo app enables its users to make new friends, communicate, socialise and follow the latest and trending news and views.

Helo's partnership with Alt News involves a series of training sessions conducted by the latter to equip Helo’s local content moderation team in Delhi with their proprietary tools and methodology to identify and mitigate the threat of content from unverified sources.

Shayamanga Barooah, Head of Content Operations, Helo, said in a statement that the company takes issues such as misinformation and fake news very seriously, and aims to ensure that the platform continues to be a safe and viable source of the latest news and trending topics.

Helo
Helo app screeshots

Launched in June this year, Helo has already garnered 25 million monthly active users in India. Besides combating fake news, the social media platform has also incorporated content moderation policies such as verified celebrities or influencers profiles and a variety of privacy features. For example, Helo users can choose whether others can comment on or share their content on its platform.

Recently, social media giants such as Facebook have taken steps to combat fake news on their platforms. In November this year, Facebook-owned WhatsApp announed that it will fund 20 research projects from 11 countries, including India, Brazil and Nigeria pertaining to fake news. WhatsApp has also rolled out a slew of features like highlighting a message with 'forwarded' label on top, and not allowing its users in India to forward a message more than five times, amongst others.

In the same month, Facebook partnered with news agency Agence France-Presse (AFP), extending third-party fact-checking programme in India to combat the spread of fake news on its platform ahead of general elections (Lok Sabha) in 2019. While Facebook runs various programmes across the globe to curb this issue, in India, it has partnered with Mumbai-based fact-checking website BOOM for the same.

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