Aiming to take on encrypted messaging platform Telegram, WhatsApp has released a new feature for its groups which is essentially a “one-way broadcast” communication stream.
“Today, we’re launching a new group setting where only admins are able to send messages to a group. One way people use groups is to receive important announcements and information, including parents and teachers at schools, community centres, and non-profit organisations,” the Facebook-owned company wrote in a blog post late on Friday.
To enable this new feature, users have to open “Group Info,” and select “Only Admins”.
The company is rolling out the feature to all users around the world, who are on the latest supported versions of the app.
Another new feature that is being rolled out is group description which is essentially a short blurb found under group information that allows users to set the purpose, guidelines or topics for the group.
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.