With general elections slated to be held next year in India, WhatsApp has made it clear that it will ramp up efforts to fight fake news in India.
In a bid to crackdown on spread of fake news on its platform, WhatsApp is rolling out radio campaigns across various Indian states, asking people to check the veracity of information received as a forward before they share it with others.
The radio campaign will air starting today across 46 Hindi stations.The radio campaign will air starting today across 46 Hindi-speaking stations of All India Radio (AIR) across Bihar, Jharkhand, Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, Rajasthan, Uttar Pradesh and Uttarakhand.
These campaigns advise users to verify authenticity of messages. WhatsApp globally has nearly 1.5 billion users. In India, alone there is over 250 million users are on WhatsApp.
With general elections slated to be held next year in India, the government had warned WhatsApp. The central government may otherwise treat the messaging platform as abettor of rumour propagation. Thus legal consequences will follow if adequate checks are not put in place.
In a recent meeting with WhatsApp Head Chris Daniels, IT Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad had assured that the company will find a solution to track origin of messages. The company will soon set up a local corporate entity with a grievance officer.
The radio campaign will very soon air starting today across 46 Hindi. The campaigns across various Indian states, will ask people to check the veracity of information received as a forward before they share it with others.
The Facebook-owned company has been on an overdrive after it faced severe criticism from the Government over circulation of fake news on its platform that incited multiple incidents of mob-lynching across the country.
WhatsApp is under fire over reports of mob violence and lynching incidents in India, due to spread of misinformation and videos on the platform. The Facebook-owned app has rolled out some new features in order to stop misleading photos, videos and messages from spreading on it, and some are in beta-testing phase. These include Forwarded label, more controls to Group Admins, etc.
WhatsApp Forwarded label
WhatsApp has started to tag forwarded messages, which will supposedly prevent the spread of misinformation on the platform. The Forwarded label works for photos, videos as well as text messages making it easier for users to identify stuff that is being circulated. Of course, Forwarded label is not a full-proof solution to all problems of fake news, but will hopefully make users mindful of what they mass forward.
But with such a huge number of blind and insensible political followers with excellent technical knowledge , will it be possible by whatsapp to control fake news ?