To tackle the spread of fake news via its platform, WhatsApp’s new beta version shows a test feature that would run Google-powered web-checks on images being shared on the app to verify their legitimacy.
Called “Search by Image”, the feature would search an image on the web that a user either sent or received in their chats using official Google application programming interfaces (APIs) to find similar or equal images on the web.
“If you choose to search an image, WhatsApp will alert you that it will be uploaded to Google after which WhatsApp will open the browser to show the results,” WABetaInfo reported on Friday.
The feature would help users understand if a news is real or fake.
“When you receive an image, you can try to search it on the web and read information related to that image on the web,” the report said.
As part of the partnership, WhatsApp and NASSCOM Foundation will train nearly 1,00,000 Indians to spot false information and provide tips and tricks to stay safe on WhatsApp.
The co-created curriculum, which includes real-world anecdote tools that can be used to verify a forwarded message and actions that users can take like reporting problematic content to fact checkers and other law enforcement agencies, will be disseminated in multiple regional languages.
“We are excited to expand our partnerships with civil society to advance crucial digital literacy skills that can help combat misinformation share on WhatsApp,” Abhijit Bose, Head of India, WhatsApp, said in a statement.
“This training educates people throughout India to be mindful of the messages they receive and to verify the facts before forwarding,” he added.
The training will be imparted by volunteers from NASSCOM Foundation who will launch the “each one teach three” campaign that mandates every volunteer to share their learnings with three more persons leading to a network effect.
These volunteers will post their takeaways from the workshops on their social media handles to increase the reach of these safety messages.
The first training will be on March 27 in Delhi and will be followed by more planned interventions like hosting training workshops for representatives from rural and urban areas along with roadshows across numerous colleges.
“The use of technology platforms like WhatsApp are inherently meant to foster social good, harmony, and collaboration, but are sadly being used by a small number of miscreants to entice anger and hatred by spreading false and doctored information,” Ashok Pamidi, CEO, NASSCOM Foundation, said.