Under strict instructions from Indian government, WhatsApp has been fighting the menace of fake news. Read on to know how WhatsApp has come out with new features to stop online rumours…
Under strict instructions from Indian government, WhatsApp has been fighting the menace of fake news. Recently, WhatsApp has launched a tip line to tackle fake news in India ahead of Lok Sabha Elections 2019. From now onwards, WhatsApp users in India will be able to submit their queries about uncertain information or rumors they have received to the Checkpoint Tipline on WhatsApp, following which they would be notified if the message that they have received contains any misleading information.
WhatsApp users can send their queries to a specified number following which they would be informed if the message they received contains fake news or genuine message. WhatsApp users can now send their queries to the number — +91-9643-000-888 – which is the WhatsApp account number for Checkpoint Tipline, a tipline that has been launched by an India-based media skilling startup PROTO.
According to Facebook-owned WhatsApp, this tipline will create a database of rumours circulating in India during the election season. And when a users would share a query with a suspicious message with the tipline, it would check the message shared by the user against its own database to notify the users if the claim made by the message is indeed genuine.
In simple words, the tip line would inform the user if the information in the message is true, false, misleading, disputed or out of scope and include any other related information that is available. PROTO’s verification center, which would handle all the queries, would review rumors in the form of pictures, video links or text and apart from English, it will review content in four regional languages including Hindi, Telugu, Bengali and Malayalam.
Verification and Research Frameworks
In its statement, WhatsApp said Dig Deeper Media and Meedan – which have previously worked on misinformation-related projects around the world are helping PROTO to develop the verification and research frameworks for India. Meedan has developed the technology to support the verification of rumours and will maintain the database of such content that have been processed. For this process, they have expanded their check platform (developed for recent elections in Mexico and France) and integrated it with the WhatsApp Business API, to receive and respond to messages at scale.
“The goal of this project is to study the misinformation phenomenon at scale — natively in WhatsApp. As more data flows in, we will be able to identify the most susceptible or affected issues, locations, languages, regions, and more. The verification reports we send back will encourage our grassroots-level “listening posts” to send more signals for analysis,” PROTO’s founders Ritvvij Parrikh and Nasr ul Hadi said in a statement. They added that the verification reports Proto sends back will encourage grassroots-level “listening posts” to send more signals for analysis.
Following the project, Proto also plans to submit learnings to the International Center for Journalists to help other organisations learn from the design and operations of this project. “The research from this initiative will help create a global benchmarks for those wishing to tackle misinformation in their own markets,” Fergus Bell, founder and CEO, Dig Deeper Media, said.
So if you have any queries, you can drop a WhatsApp message to the WhatsApp number mentioned above and check if the message that you have received contains fake or genuine information.