WhatsApp ad campaign offers tips for users to combat fake news

NEW DELHI: To tackle spread of fake news on its platform, instant messaging application WhatsApp on Tuesday published advertisements in newspapers giving out "easy tips" that can help users decide if "something sent to you on WhatsApp is true."

"This morning we are starting an education campaign in India on how to spot fake news and rumours. Our first step is placing newspaper advertisements across the country in English, Hindi, and several other languages. We will build on these efforts going forward," a WhatsApp spokesperson said in an emailed response.

WhatsApp has said that the government and community groups need to work together to deal with fake news technology companies.

The Facebook-owned application in the advertisement said this week it will roll out a new feature that will let users see which messages have been forwarded. "Double check the facts when you are not sure who wrote the original message," it said.

While stating that stories that seem hard to believe are often untrue, the messaging application asked users to check elsewhere to see if they are really true. "It is easier to believe photos and videos, but even these can be edited to mislead you. Sometimes the photo is real, but the story around it is not. So look online to see where the photo came from."

Asking users to be thoughtful of what they share, WhatsApp said, "if you read something that makes you angry or afraid, ask whether it was shared to make you feel that way. And if the answer is yes, think twice before sharing it again."

Additionally, it added that fake new often goes viral, and asked users to not pay attention to the number of times they receive the message. "Just because a message is share many times, does not make it true."

 

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