Social Media

WhatsApp lists measures to tackle fake messages

Our Bureau Mumbai | Updated on July 04, 2018 Published on July 04, 2018

WhatsApp plans to run long-term public safety ad campaigns in India.   -  BusinessLine

Readying label to differentiate forwards from a sender's own message

Instant messaging platform WhatsApp has informed Indian authorities that it is taking a number of steps to counter fake messages on its platform, including testing a new label in India that highlights when a message has been forwarded versus composed by the sender. This comes after the Ministry of Information Technology and Electronics raised concerns about the violent fallout of the fake messages on social media platforms.

In its reply to the Ministry, WhatsApp said, "Like the Government of India, we're horrified by these terrible acts of violence and wanted to respond quickly to the very important issues you have raised. We believe this is a challenge that requires government, civil society and technology companies to work together."

"In Mid-May, we added new protections to prevent people from adding others back into groups which they had left — a form of misuse we think it is important to correct. And last week, we launched a new setting that enables administrators to decide who gets to send messages within individual groups. This will help reduce the spread of unwanted messages into important group conversations — as well as the forwarding of hoaxes and other content," the American company said.

"In addition, we have been testing a new label in India that highlights when a message has been forwarded versus composed by the sender. This could serve as an important signal for recipients to think twice before forwarding messages because it lets a user know if content they received was written by the person they know or a potential rumour from someone else. We plan to launch this new feature soon," the company said..

Safety ad campaigns

WhatsApp has also announced a new project to work with leading academic experts in India to learn more about the spread of misinformation, which will help inform additional product improvements going forward.

"We are also working hard to educate people about how to stay safe online. For example, we regularly put out information that explains how to spot fake news and hoaxes — and we plan to run long term public safety ad campaigns in India, given its importance to us at WhatsApp. As a starting point, we will soon publish new educational materials around misinformation and conduct our news literacy workshops," WhatsApp said.

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Published on July 04, 2018
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