WhatsApp Launches Media Blitz to Dispel India's Fake News Woes

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The statement states, "WhatsApp is commissioning a competitive set of awards to researchers interested in exploring issues that are related to misinformation on WhatsApp". Much like the "Pizzagate" incident in 2016, Indian residents reacted violently to claims that people in their area were abducting children or harvesting organs. It has also advised users to double check facts when you're not sure who wrote the original message. "Just because a message is shared many times, does not make it true", offer one of the tidbits of advice. "And if the answer is yes, think twice before sharing it again", reads the tip.

Last week, we had reported that Whatsapp is offering upto $50,000 grant to social scientists inorder to discover ways to stop the madness of fake news.

This photo illustration shows an Indian newspaper vendor reading a newspaper with a full back page advertisement from WhatsApp meant to counter fake information, in New Delhi on July 10, 2018. The company will build on such efforts going forward, the spokesperson added. According to WhatsApp, "many messages containing hoaxes or fake news have spelling mistakes". The new feature is known as Send Messages and it is rolling out to Android, iOS and Windows Phone users across the globe.

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This new feature will not send any information to any external servers, and will check the authenticity of the link shared via their internal database.

The Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology on July 2 had written to WhatsApp asking it to take immediate steps to prevent the circulation of false information and provocative content, and emphasised that the company "cannot evade accountability and responsibility".

Facebook-owned WhatsApp has been working on a new tool called Suspicious Link Detection which aims to tackle fake news on the messaging platform.

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WhatsApp said it was "horrified" by the violence and promised swift action but Indian authorities have accused the social media giant of acting irresponsibly in its largest market.

Users on WhatsApp should always do their own research into whether a piece of information being forwarded is genuine, before sending it along.

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