WhatsApp renews efforts to curb spread of rumours and misinformation
Earlier in July, the Facebook-owned company had launched its first anti-fake news campaign across key Indian newspapers to help make people aware.
It is not unheard of for someone to have come across, and even be influenced by, false news and misinformation. However, there is more than one way to spot and steer clear of fake news, and messaging platform WhatsApp is helping out with just that.
The Facebook-owned company in its latest ad campaign laid out some handy tips and guidelines for its users to tackle the spread of “rumours” and “fake news”. Listed as three broad and simple pointers, WhatsApp urged users to “spot news that might be fake”, “verify with other sources”, and “help stop the spread”.
The first rule is all about checking for signs that would help understand the authenticity of the information and one way to do so is by being cautious of forwarded messages.
In case a particular piece of news/information catches attention, due diligence is advised as the next step. This would include looking up the news online, cross-checking with other trustworthy sites, and even verifying with industry experts or people who have in-depth knowledge about the subject.
Finally, WhatsApp’s three-pointer guideline asks users to help prevent the spread of fake news. “Don’t share a message just because someone tells you to. Even if they are your friends,” reads the ad campaign.
While the tips to tackle fake news are fairly simple, the latest campaign from WhatsApp comes in the face of rampant spread of misinformation and hate-inciting news.
Earlier in July, the company had launched a similar campaign across key Indian newspapers following a case of fake news prompting mob lynching. The company had also rolled out a ‘forwarded label’ feature to curb the spread of rumours and malicious propaganda.
WhatsApp had also hired a dedicated grievance officer for India.
Chris Daniels, CEO of WhatsApp, had met with Union Minister for Electronics and Information Technology Ravi Shankar Prasad earlier this year to discuss the issue.
The minister is said to have suggested that WhatsApp appoint a grievance officer in India, set up a corporate entity here to ensure compliance with Indian laws, work with law enforcement agencies, and undertake public awareness campaigns to prevent misuse of #Whatsapp.
Chris had assured the government that WhatsApp would comply with all these requests and take steps to ensure the app is not misused for any criminal activity.