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WhatsApp Partners With DEF To Train Community Leaders in Order To Tackle Fake News

The teams will also cover key states such as, West Bengal, Assam, Karnataka, Maharashtra, Tripura and Jharkhand by March 2019, the statement said

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WhatsApp working on fingerprint authentication for chats: Report. Pixabay

Aiming to address the challenge of misinformation during the upcomimg Rajasthan Assembly polls, WhatsApp on Monday conducted training for community leaders here, in partnership with the Digital Empowerment Foundation (DEF), the Facebook-owned mobile messaging platform said.

The education workshop encouraged WhatsApp users to see themselves as “agents of change” by addressing socio-behavioural change and empowered them to spot false news.

The training will also enable them to differentiate between rumours and opinions; shared subsequent steps to tackle instances of false news and tips to stay safe on WhatsApp.

“WhatsApp is proud to have played a part in helping millions of people in Rajasthan to freely connect with their loved ones anywhere in the world. These trainings are a key part of our strategy to help people stay safe and limit the spread of harmful rumours this election season” said Ben Supple, Public Policy Manager, WhatsApp, in a statement.

The curriculum further delved into how users can contact fact-checking organisations like Altnews and Boom Live to accurately verify information when they are in doubt.

The training was attended by over 100 participants including from local government administrations, law enforcement authorities, college students, NGOs and community leaders who are dedicated to the technological empowerment of their society, especially villages and semi-urban centre.

WhatsApp
WhatsApp on a smartphone device.

“While the problem of misinformation is not restricted to rural areas alone, it is the rural population that majorly lacks access to alternative news sources for sake of verification,” said Osama Manzar, Founder and Director, DEF.

“We see education as the only solution to this problem, and we know that when we teach them some basic verification techniques, they’re going to tell at least two other people about it, creating a ripple effect and potentially fighting misinformation.”

Additionally, WhatsApp and DEF will organise workshops as a part of their Community Information Resource Centre (CIRC), where they will conduct training sessions targeted at grassroots communities in rural areas across five states in India, the company said.

In August, WhatsApp was asked by the central government to take steps to stop the spread of disinformation on its platform.

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WhatsApp roped in New Delhi-based non-profit DEF and initiated a series of educational workshops in 10 key election states including Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, Mizoram, Rajasthan and Telangana.

The teams will also cover key states such as, West Bengal, Assam, Karnataka, Maharashtra, Tripura and Jharkhand by March 2019, the statement said. (IANS)

Next Story

No User Data Affected From New MP4 File Bug, Claims WhatsApp

The RCE vulnerability may allow hackers to perform the attack remotely without any sort of authentication

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whatsapp, paytm, UPI-based Pay service
FILE - The WhatsApp app logo is seen on a smartphone in this picture illustration. VOA

WhatsApp on Monday said no user data was affected owing to a new bug where a specially-crafted malicious MP4 file may have used the vulnerability to trigger the remote code execution (RCE) and denial of service (DoS) cyber attack when downloaded by a user on both Android and iOS devices.

Reports on Sunday claimed that hackers can use the WhatsApp vulnerability to deploy the malware on the user’s device to steal sensitive files and snoop on them — the way an Israeli software Pegasus developed by cyber intelligence company NSO Group did by exploiting the video calling system in the Facebook-owned to snoop on 1,400 selected users globally and in India, including human rights activists and journalists.

“WhatsApp is constantly working to improve the security of our service. We make public, reports on potential issues we have fixed consistent with industry-best practices. In this instance, there is no reason to believe users were impacted,” a company spokesperson said in a statement shared with IANS.

The micro-blogging platform has already issued a security update on this bug.

Facebook had earlier issued an advisory, saying “a stack-based buffer overflow could be triggered in WhatsApp by sending a specially-crafted MP4 file to a WhatsApp user.”

“The issue was present in parsing the elementary stream metadata of an MP4 file and could result in a DoS or RCE.”

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Security experts have warned that blaming Whatsapp for the spyware would not be right. Pixabay

The vulnerability is classified as “critical” severity that affected an unknown code block of the component MP4 File Handler in WhatsApp.

The Pegasus-NSO Group issue snowballed into a political one, with the Indian government directing WhatsApp to submit a reply over the matter.

The government also denied either purchasing or planning to purchase the infamous software in question.

Also Read: Social Media Giant Facebook Still a Fertile Ground for Promoting Anti-vaccine Posts

The new vulnerability is found in Android versions prior to 2.19.274; iOS versions prior to 2.19.100; Enterprise Client versions prior to 2.25.3; Business for Android versions prior to 2.19.104; Business for iOS versions prior to 2.19.100; and Windows Phone versions before and including 2.18.368.

The RCE vulnerability may allow hackers to perform the attack remotely without any sort of authentication. (IANS)