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WhatsApp Announces 20 Teams To Curb Fake News Globally

In India, WhatsApp has partnered with the Digital Empowerment Foundation to train community leaders in several states on how to address misinformation

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WhatsApp
WhatsApp working on fingerprint authentication for chats: Report. Pixabay

Facebook-owned WhatsApp on Tuesday announced that it has selected 20 research teams worldwide – including experts from India and those of Indian origin — who will work towards how misinformation spreads and what additional steps the mobile messaging platform could take to curb fake news.

Shakuntala Banaji from London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE), Anushi Agrawal and Nihal Passanha from Bengaluru-based media and arts collective “Maraa” and Ramnath Bhat from LSE have been selected for the paper titled “WhatsApp Vigilantes? WhatsApp messages and mob violence in India”.

The research examines the ways in which WhatsApp users understand and find solutions to the spate of “WhatsApp lynchings” that has killed over 30 people so far.

The Indian government has also directed WhatsApp to take necessary remedial measures to prevent proliferation of fake and, at times, motivated/sensational messages on its platform.

Among others selected were Vineet Kumar from Ranchi-headquartered Cyber Peace Foundation (principal investigator), Amrita Choudhary, President of the Delhi-based non-profit Cyber Café Association of India (CCAOI) and Anand Raje from Cyber Peace Foundation.

They will work as a team on the paper titled “Digital literacy and impact of misinformation on emerging digital societies”.

P.N. Vasanti from Centre for Media Studies in New Delhi woll work withS. Shyam Sundar, The Pennsylvania State University (Principal Investigator) to examine the role of content modality in vulnerability to misinformation, under the topic titled “Seeing is Believing: Is Video Modality More Powerful in Spreading Fake News?”

WhatsApp had issued a call for papers in July this year and received proposals from over 600 research teams around the world.

“Each of the 20 research teams will receive up to $50,000 for their project (for a total of $1 million),” WhatsApp said in a statement.

Lipika Kamra from O.P. Jindal Global University and Philippa Williams from the Queen Mary University of London (Principal Investigator) will examine the role of WhatsApp in everyday political conversations in India, in the context of India’s social media ecosystem.

According to Mrinalini Rao, lead researcher at WhatsApp, the platform cares deeply about the safety of its over 1.5 billion monthly active users globally and over 200 million users in India.

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WhatsApp on a smartphone device. Pixabay

“We appreciate the opportunity to learn from these international experts about how we can continue to help address the impact of misinformation,” Rao said.

“These studies will help us build upon recent changes we have made within WhatsApp and support broad education campaigns to help keep people safe,” she added.

The recipients are from countries including Brazil, India, Indonesia, Israel, Mexico, Netherlands, Nigeria, Singapore, Spain, the UK and US.

WhatsApp said it is hosting them in California this week so they can hear from product leaders about how it builds its product.

“Given the nature of private messaging – where 90 per cent of the messages sent are between two people and group sizes are strictly limited – our focus remains on educating and empowering users and proactively tackling abuse,” said the company.

WhatsApp recently implemented a “forward label” to inform users when they received a message that was not originally written by their friend or loved one. To tackle abuse, WhatApp has also set a limit on how many forwards can be sent.

In India, WhatsApp has partnered with the Digital Empowerment Foundation to train community leaders in several states on how to address misinformation.

Also Read- Facebook Blocks Accounts Engaged in Malicious Activities

“We are also running ads in several languages — in print, online, and on over 100 radio stations — amounting to the largest public education campaign on misinformation anywhere in the world,” the company noted.

Sayan Banerjee from University of Essex, Srinjoy Bose from University of New South Wales and Robert A. Johns from University of Essex will study “Misinformation in Diverse Societies, Political Behaviour & Good Governance”.

Santosh Vijaykumar from Northumbria University, Arun Nair from Health Systems Research India Initiative and Venkat Chilukuri, Srishti Institute of Art, Design and Technology are part of the team that will study “Misinformation Vulnerabilities among Elderly during Disease Outbreaks”. (IANS)

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Dell Technologies to Double Down on Robust Partner Ecosystem in India

"To secure that engine, we need to double down on technical training and create a platform for technical architects to talk to other technical architects," Snyder said, adding that Dell Technologies is committed to building a robust partner ecosystem in the country

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Dell laptops
Dell laptops. (Representational image). Pixabay

For Dell Technologies, India holds a major place on its Asia Pacific growth map and the credit for the success goes to strategic alliances and a partner network that is behind the company’s overall success in the country, a top company executive has stressed.

According to Jay Snyder, Senior Vice President, Global Alliances, Service Providers and Industries, Dell Technologies, the time is ripe to bring uniquely differentiated industry solutions to market through strategic relationships with systems integrators, strategic outsourcers and Cloud service providers as the country goes big on realising its digital dream.

“The country is becoming a matured marketplace, especially around technology. India is turning out to be one of the most advanced markets around digital cities, Internet of Things (IoT), and 5G for connected experiences,” Snyder told IANS during an interaction here.

Snyder said he is excited about what the future holds for the company in cementing its footprint along with its partners in the country.

“Partners are incredibly important to us. I have 18 global Systems Integrators (SIs) that we look after in the business today and almost every single one of them has a footprint here. In fact, they may all have a footprint in India,” Snyder added.

Dell Technologies has accelerated its business – registering double-digit growth in last three years — and a significant piece of that has come from India.

“Our Global Alliance organization is nearly 580-people strong. Each one of the 18 global Systems Integrators has a global account manager. Teams in various capacities are working for them. So it runs like a multi-national, highly complex global organization,” he elaborated.

These 18 global Systems Integrators are serving nearly 200 Cloud service providers.

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Dell India also launches 2 new ‘Inspiron’ laptops. Pixabay

With more than 25 years of experience in the high-tech and consulting industries, Snyder has been with Dell EMC for 18 years where he previously ran Americas Services and was the first COO of Americas Sales and Customer Operations.

As companies in India and elsewhere aim to have a right mix of Cloud for different workloads — the global SIs are helping enterprises select their Cloud path.

“Large enterprises are looking for expertise and strategy from the global SIs to define their multi-cloud environment. My job is to make sure that they’re incredibly well-versed and understand what we bring to the marketplace,” said Snyder.

Also Read: Delhi Metro Partners Uber for Last-mile Connectivity: Report

The next on his plate is to further increase India footprint.

“We call it securing the engine. We look at the engine of the entire global alliances business being here in India, because it’s not just India-based firms but all of my firms which have most of their technical footprint here,” he emphasized.

For him, the strategy is all about enablement and training via workshops, full-day seminars and hands-on sessions.

“To secure that engine, we need to double down on technical training and create a platform for technical architects to talk to other technical architects,” Snyder said, adding that Dell Technologies is committed to building a robust partner ecosystem in the country. (IANS)