Sunday February 17, 2019
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WhatsApp Launches its First-Ever TV Campaign in India

In addition, it bans accounts that engage in unwanted automated activity

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

Facing flak for the misuse of its platform, WhatsApp on Monday launched its first-ever TV campaign in India as part of its efforts to address the challenge of misinformation and pernicious rumours.

The popular messaging platform earlier launched two phases of a radio campaign to create awareness among users. The first phase of the campaign was kicked off on August 29 with ads across 46 radio stations of the All India Radio (AIR) in states like Bihar, Jharkhand, Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, Rajasthan and Uttar Pradesh.

The second phase of the campaign started 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.

For the TV campaign, WhatsApp said it worked closely with filmmaker Shirsha Guha Thakurta to develop three 60 second films that each convey real scenarios about dangerous rumours that can spread among users.

Timed to start just prior to the Assembly elections in Rajasthan and Telangana, the films will be available on TV, Facebook and YouTube in nine languages, the Facebook-owned platform said, adding that it would build on this effort to prepare for the 2019 Lok Sabha polls.

“We’re humbled by the impact that WhatsApp had on people’s ability to freely connect with their loved ones. We recognise at the same time connecting people can also lead to the spread of misinformation, which has to be confronted,” said Bosco Zubiaga, who led production of these films for WhatsApp.

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WhatsApp on a smartphone device. Pixabay

The rumours spread on the popular messaging platform which has over 200 million users in India have been linked to several lynching incidents in the country, forcing the government to send a stern message to the company.

Meeting WhatsApp CEO Chris Daniels in August, Union IT Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad said that the platform must comply with the law and take “suitable” steps to prevent its misuse.

Over the last several months, WhatsApp has made a series of changes including labeling forwarded messages to inform users when they have received something not from their immediate contact and set a limit on how forwarded messages can be sent.

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In addition, it bans accounts that engage in unwanted automated activity.

“We hope this campaign will help educate people how to stay safe on WhatsApp,” Zubiaga said.

Each film’s protagonist teaches someone important in their lives to not spread rumours and to use WhatsApp controls such as the ability to leave groups where rumours are spread and block unknown senders. (IANS)

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India Says Pakistan’s Links with Pulwama Attack Clear For All to See

He said while there are claims to offer dialogue from Pakistan, it continues to shelter terror outfits

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Arun Jaitley
"The most favoured nation status which has been granted to Pakistan stands withdrawn.", says Jaitley. Pixabay

India has rejected Pakistan Foreign Secretary Tehmina Janjua’s claims denying her country’s links to the Pulwama terror attack, saying that JeM, which claimed responsibility for the attack on Thursday, is based in Pakistan, and the “links are clear and evident and for all to see”.

The External Affairs Ministry spokesperson on Friday termed as “preposterous” the demand for an investigation, saying there is a video of the suicide bomber declaring himself a member of the terror group Jaish-e-Mohammed (JeM).

The spokesperson said India has not seen any constructive approach from Pakistan on bilateral relations and it has been sheltering terrorists and terror organisations such as JeM. He said Islamabad has not taken any action against such groups despite international demands.

India also demanded that Pakistan take immediate and verifiable action against terrorists and terror groups operating from territories under its control to create a conducive atmosphere in the region free of terror.

The spokesperson’s response came over Pakistan Foreign Secretary’s briefing rejecting Pakistan’s involvement in the terror attack on a paramilitary convoy in Jammu and Kashmir that killed at least 45 troopers. Janjua met envoys of P-5 countries late on Friday.

The spokesperson said JeM has claimed responsibility for the attack.

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs said in a statement that the attack was a matter of “grave concern” and it had been condemning “heightened acts of violence in the (Kashmir) Valley”. Pixabay

“The organisation and its leadership are located in Pakistan. LeT and other terror groups have welcomed the news of the attack. These groups are also based in Pakistan. Pakistan cannot claim that it is unaware of their presence and their activities.

“They have not taken any action against these groups despite international demands, especially against groups and individuals proscribed by the UN and other countries. The links to Pakistan are clear and evident for all to see. Its own Ministers have shared the same podium with UN proscribed terrorists,” the spokesperson said.

He said there was audio-visual material linking JeM to the terror attack.

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“The demand for an investigation is preposterous when there is a video of the suicide bomber declaring himself a member of the JeM. There are also other audio-visual and print material linking JeM to the terrorist attack. We have therefore no doubt that the claim is firmly established,” the spokesperson said.

He said while there are claims to offer dialogue from Pakistan, it continues to shelter terror outfits.

“We have not seen any constructive approach from Pakistan on relations with India. What we have noticed however, are claims to offer dialogue on the one hand, while sponsoring and sheltering terrorists and terrorist organisations such as JeM on the other,” the spokesperson added. (IANS)