WhatsApp and misinformation is something which is going on for a long time now. The fight against misinformation and fake news is going on in India since WhatsApp entered the market. Previously, it went under the radar but now it is noticeable and the effects of the same could be seen. And that is the reason the Indian government is looking to curb the same. That being said, WhatsApp is at the forefront of it.
WhatsApp and the government have been in a fight for a long time now. The reason for it is the Indian government and the Election Commission’s strong action against social media promotions. The fact that social media promotions are strongly based on misinformation and fake news, the organizations of India are behind the Facebook-owned company to trace the messages back. This is solely because the government wants to take action against the culprits.
PROTO has set up a Checkpoint Tipline (+91-9643-000-888) which is active. This tip line can be used by the people who are uncertain about the authenticity and the genuineness of the message. PROTO will then help the user identify the information. This will also make for a huge database of misinformation which will allow Facebook and WhatsApp to study all kinds of patterns of misinformation.
The statement released by the execs of PROTO also talks about the same. The duo said that the information that comes in will be helpful to assess the phenomenon of misinformation. The language, locations, topics and everything else will be known because of this. This will natively happen on WhatsApp, which also happens to be a major source in India.
The statement read, “The goal of this project is to study the misinformation phenomenon at scale — natively in WhatsApp. As more data flows in, we will be able to identify the most susceptible or affected issues, locations, languages, regions, and more. The verification reports we send back will encourage our grassroots-level “listening posts” to send more signals for analysis.”
This is a good step by WhatsApp as it might help them set up an algorithm which will curb the misinformation without a doubt. That said, the company is going in the right direction when it comes to fake news.