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WhatsApp to Train Users in India on Dangers of Fake News

WhatsApp has already taken several 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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After being asked by the central government to take steps to stop the spread of disinformation on its platform, WhatsApp on Wednesday 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.

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.

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.

DEF said it would help educate government officials, administration representatives, civil society organisations and students to spread the word about this challenge.

WhatsApp
WhatsApp on a smartphone device. Pixabay

The training is expected to enable WhatsApp users to differentiate between opinions and facts, and to inculcate a habit of verifying information through simple checks before forwarding it to their friends and family.

In addition, DEF said it would incorporate this new training as part of their network of over 30,000 grassroots community members in seven states.

“We at WhatsApp and DEF hope these training workshops will help build an empathetic and conscious community of WhatsApp users who learn to respond rather than react to every message they receive,” said Osama Manzar, Founder-Director of DEF.

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WhatsApp has already taken several 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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India’s PSLV Along With 2 British Satellites Launched Successfully

Two satellites aboard the PSLV belong to Surrey Satellite Technologies Ltd (SSTL), UK, and is carried under commercial arrangement with Antrix Corp Ltd - the commercial arm of ISRO.

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Indian rocket lifts off with two earth observation satellites from UK
Indian rocket lifts off with two earth observation satellites from UK. Flickr

Indian rocket Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle (PSLV) lifted off successfully with two British satellites, NovaSAR and S1-4, from the rocket port here on Sunday night.

The PSLV-CA (Core Alone) version, standing 44.4 metres tall and weighing 230.4 tonnes, with thick orange flame at its tail lighting up the night skies rose up at 10.08 p.m. from the first launch pad.

The rocketport here has two launch pads.

PSLV
Indian rocket Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle  lifts off with two British satellites NovaSAR and S1-4, as seen from Chennai. IANS

According to the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO), after 17 minutes, 44 seconds following the PSLV lift-off, the two earth observation satellites will be launched into a 583 km sun synchronous orbit.

NovaSAR weighing 445 kg is a S-Band Synthetic Aperture Radar satellite intended for forest mapping, land use and ice cover monitoring, flood and disaster monitoring.

 

PSLV
Indian rocket Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle  lifts off with two British satellites NovaSAR and S1-4, as seen from Chennai on Sept 16. IANS

S1-4 weighing 444 kg is a high resolution Optical Earth Observation Satellite, used for surveying resources, environment monitoring, urban management and for disaster monitoring.

 

Also Read: ISRO Expects to Fly Its First Small Rocket Sometime Next Year

Two satellites aboard the PSLV belong to Surrey Satellite Technologies Ltd (SSTL), UK, and is carried under commercial arrangement with Antrix Corp Ltd – the commercial arm of ISRO. (IANS)