WhatsApp fights fake news with Indian newspaper ads

Whatsapp's Ad on Tips to Battle Fake News

Earlier this month, WhatsApp told that it was educating users to identify fake news as well as considering changes to the service with a public beta test in the works, that was working towards labeling any forwarded message.

WhatsApp published full page print ads in main Indian newspapers to handle the spread of fake news in India. "We will build on these efforts", outlines the news advertisement.

A rash of deadly lynchings in India has a popular messaging app taking aim at fake news. The label will apply to text, image, video and audio messages globally, a spokesperson confirmed to Poynter. Messages will be highlighted to make a difference that the message was not typed out but just forwarded.

The forwarded message designation is meant as a measure to control the spread of viral misinformation in countries like India, where the company has 200 million users. Lastly, there is the feature where if you received a WhatsApp message, you can find out if it was sent by the sender or forwarded from someone else.

IT Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad has demanded greater accountability from social media platforms, saying finding technological fixes to identify mass-circulation of messages on a particular issue, in a particular area can not be "rocket science".

Once the app detects any suspicious link, it will then mark the link with a red label to let users easily differentiate between a fake and genuine link.

The feature will warn users about suspicious links beforehand by automatically checking them in the message and will be able to determine if the links are safe. "There are lots of ingenious applications for platforms like WhatsApp in India - we've mostly seen the positive and now the negative". This could help in averting any malware being downloaded on the device that you are using your WhatsApp messaging app on.

Still, there are some limitations to the feature. Nevertheless, users are free to continue to the website anyway.

"Brazilians know a lot about how to dodge new things and new rules", Tardáguila said.

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