• Thursday, June 30, 2022

HEADLINE STORY

WhatsApp launches fact-check service to fight fake news in India

The move comes as WhatsApp, with over 200 million users in India, battles criticism of its platform being used for the spread of misinformation, while social media companies across the board work to prevent the phenomenon, particularly during sensitive events such as elections (Photo: LIONEL BONAVENTURE/AFP/Getty Images).

By: Radhakrishna N S

WHATSAPP today (2) launched a service for Indians to check the veracity of information, in the messaging platform’s latest attempt to combat fake news in India ahead of national elections beginning this month.

WhatsApp said in a statement it was working with local startup Proto to classify messages sent to the service by users as true, false, misleading or disputed. They will also build a database of such content to better understand misinformation.

The move comes as WhatsApp, with over 200 million users in India, battles criticism of its platform being used for the spread of misinformation, while social media companies across the board work to prevent the phenomenon, particularly during sensitive events such as elections.

WhatsApp owner Facebook Inc said on yesterday (1) it had deleted 712 accounts and 390 pages in India and Pakistan for “inauthentic behaviour”, saying many were linked to India’s opposition Congress party and others related to Pakistan’s military.

The first phase of India’s elections are scheduled to begin on April 11, with final results expected on May 23.

Major Indian political parties have accused each other of propagating fake news on WhatsApp while denying they do so themselves.

In February, a senior WhatsApp executive said parties were trying to use the app in “ways for which it was not intended”.

WhatsApp had a similar challenge during Brazilian elections last year, when politicians had faced claims of spreading falsehoods on the platform.

“The goal of this project is to study the misinformation phenomenon at scale,” Proto’s founders Ritvvij Parrikh and Nasr ul Hadi said in a statement.

“As more data flows in, we will be able to identify the most susceptible or affected issues, locations, languages, regions, and more.”

WhatsApp said Proto would be helped by two other organisations with experience working on misinformation-related projects.

“The challenge of viral misinformation requires more collaborative efforts and cannot be solved by any one organisation alone,” WhatsApp said.

The new service, dubbed Checkpoint Tipline, can receive messages in the form of images and video as well as text in English and four regional languages, it added.

Checkpoint is a research project commissioned by WhatsApp.

WhatsApp’s end-to-end encryption allows groups of many users to exchange text messages, images and video beyond the oversight of independent fact checkers or even the company itself.

(Reuters)

Eastern Eye

Related Stories

Eastern Eye

Videos

Mrunal Thakur on Dhamaka, experience of working with Kartik Aaryan,…
Nushrratt Bharuccha on Chhorii, pressure of comparison with Lapachhapi, upcoming…
Abhimanyu Dassani on Meenakshi Sundareshwar, how his mom Bhagyashree reacted…