In a bid to crackdown on spread of fake news on its platform, WhatsApp today said it is rolling out radio campaigns across various Indian states, asking people to check the veracity of information received as a forward before they share it with others.
The Facebook-owned company has been on an overdrive after it faced severe criticism from the government over circulation of fake news on its platform that incited multiple incidents of mob lynching across the country.
“The radio campaign will air starting today across 46 Hindi speaking stations of All India Radio (AIR) across Bihar, Jharkhand, Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, Rajasthan, Uttar Pradesh and Uttarakhand,” a WhatsApp spokesperson told PTI.
The spokesperson added that while the current campaign is available in Hindi, there are plans to offer the same in other regional languages over the next few weeks.
These campaigns advise users to verify authenticity of messages before forwarding them and to report content that they might find to be inflammatory. It also cautions users to be careful about forwarding messages that contain misinformation and said doing so, could have serious repercussions.
WhatsApp, which has been slapped with two notices to check the spread of fake news, has taken a series of measures, including restricting the number of forwards and added ‘forward’ label to help users identify such messages. It is also in the process of establishing a local corporate entity.
It has, however, not accepted government’s demand for traceability of messages saying creating such a software will go against the idea of user privacy and end-to-end encryption.
With general elections slated to be held next year in India, the government is taking a tough stance on use of social media platforms like Facebook, Twitter, and WhatsApp for spread of misinformation.
The government had warned WhatsApp that it will treat the messaging platform as abettor of rumour propagation and legal consequences will follow if adequate checks are not put in place.