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In a Bid to Tackle Fake News, WhatsApp Launches Second Phase of Radio Ad Campaign in India

WhatsApp has also taken some technological measures to curb the problem of disinformation, including the introduction of the "forwarded" tag and limiting forwarding to five chats at once

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WhatsApp working on fingerprint authentication for chats: Report. Pixabay

After being pulled up by the government to take concrete steps to stop the spread of misinformation and fake news on its platform, Facebook-owned WhatsApp on Wednesday said it has launched the second phase of its radio ad campaign in the country to create awareness and empower users.

The first phase of the educational campaign was kicked off on August 29 with ads across 46 radio stations of All India Radio (AIR) in states like Bihar, Jharkhand, Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, Rajasthan and Uttar Pradesh.

The second phase of the campaign started on Wednesday on September 5 with radio ads across 83 AIR radio stations in Assam, Tripura, West Bengal, Gujarat, Karnataka, Maharashtra, Andhra Pradesh and Telangana, Orissa and Tamil Nadu.

These campaigns will run in eight regional languages — Assamese, Bengali, Gujarati, Kannada, Marathi, Telugu, Oriya and Tamil — for a 15-day duration, WhatsApp said in a statement.

The campaign has been designed in an easy to understand format to help user’s spot misinformation and further sensitize them about the challenges of fake news and addressing these as a society.

WhatsApp
WhatsApp to train users on dangers of fake news as well.

“WhatsApp stands committed in its efforts to address these issues jointly with civil society, stakeholders and the government,” the company said.

These radio campaign highlights tips like understand when a message is “forwarded”; check information that seems unbelievable and photos carefully; question information that upsets you and be thoughtful about what you share.

WhatsApp has also roped in New Delhi-based non-profit Digital Empowerment Foundation (DEF) to create awareness among its users about the need to verify information.

“Our goal is to help keep people safe by creating greater awareness about fake news and empowering users to help limit its spread,” Ben Supple, Public Policy Manager at WhatsApp, said in a statement.

As part of the new partnership with WhatsApp, DEF has committed to holding 40 training sessions for community leaders in 10 states across the country where there have been worrisome cases of violence and where there will be state polls before the end of the year.

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WhatsApp on a smartphone device. Pixabay

In a meeting with WhatsApp CEO Chris Daniels on August 21, Union IT Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad instructed the Facebook-owned platform to comply with the law of the land and take “suitable” steps to prevent its misuse.

The meeting took place after several lynching incidents were linked to the spread of misinformation on the instant messaging platform which has over 200 million monthly active users in India.

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WhatsApp has also taken some technological measures to curb the problem of disinformation, including the introduction of the “forwarded” tag and limiting forwarding to five chats at once.

“In addition to the steps we are taking within WhatsApp, we believe impacting lives through the power of education is critical to helping achieve the vision of a ‘Digital India’,” Supple added. (IANS)

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WhatsApp Announces 5-chat Message Forwarding Limit Globally

Based out of WhatsApp's headquarters in Menlo Park, California, Lahiri can be contacted via email and general post

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"WhatsApp Business" was launched last week in Indonesia, Italy, Mexico, Britain and the US. Pixabay

Aiming to curb fake news, Facebook-owned platform WhatsApp on Monday announced it has globally lowered to five the forward limit for chats — a feature first launched in India last July.

“Starting today, WhatsApp will be implementing this change, globally i.e. all users on the latest versions of WhatsApp can now forward to only five chats at once,” the Facebook-owned platform said in a blog post.

Earlier, the company allowed users globally to forward messages for up to 20 chats (either individuals or groups).

“The new change will continue to help keep WhatsApp focused on private messaging with close contacts,” it added.

With the Indian government talking tough on WhatsApp’s failure to check the spread of fake and provocative content on its platorm, the instant messaging service last year rolled out its forward message limit to five chats for over 200 million users in the country.

In one of its notices, the Ministry of Electronics and IT (MeitY) said WhatsApp has been requested to come out with more effective solutions that can bring in accountability and facilitate enforcement of law in addition to their efforts towards labelling forwards and identifying fake news.

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WhatsApp on a smartphone device. Pixabay

The IT Ministry had also asked WhatsApp to ensure that the platform is not used for malafide activities over the growing instances of lynching of innocent people owing to large number of irresponsible messages filled with rumours.

In August, Union IT Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad told the visiting WhatsApp CEO Chris Daniels to comply with the Indian laws and take “suitable” steps to prevent misuse of the instant messaging platform in the country.

Daniels’ meeting with the IT Minister came against the backdrop of several incidents of mob lynching being linked to the circulation of fake messages and misinformation on the instant messaging platform.

Also Read- Social Media Giants Facebook, Twitter Face Action From Russia Over Legal Violations

After being pulled up by the Supreme Court for not appointing a Grievance Officer and complying with other laws of India, WhatsApp in September appointed Komal Lahiri as the Grievance Officer for the country.

Based out of WhatsApp’s headquarters in Menlo Park, California, Lahiri can be contacted via email and general post. (IANS)