WhatsApp Will Now Label Forwards in a Bid to Combat Misinformation

11 July, 2018, 13:16 | Author: Rickey Flowers
  • Whatsapp to introduce new tool to address fake news

IT Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad asked WhatsApp to take measures to control the spread of fake news via its platform. WhatsApp responded by adding a Forwarded Label to messages which are being recirculated.

"This extra context will help make one-on-one and group chats easier to follow", the company said in a blog post. Interestingly, despite this claim, the new feature can presumably be bypassed by anyone quite easily.

The report further suggests that WhatsApp will also bring a new feature that will allow users to manually report a suspicious link via the platform itself.

Number one on the WhatsApp checklist on fighting false information is "Understand when a message is forwarded".

As per WABetaInfo, the new WhatsApp Suspicious Link Detection feature will come with Android beta version 2.18.204 and later.

India is WhatsApp's largest market, with an estimated 200 million users sending a billion encrypted messages each day.

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Whatsapp kicked off a print ad campaign in national newspapers on Tuesday listing out tips to fight fake news.

In recent months there has been a rise in fake news spreading across WhatsApp in India that has resulted in mob lynchings of innocent people, reports Reuters.

Facebook owned messaging service WhatsApp on July 10 published full-page advertisements in Indian dailies in a bid to counter fake information that has sparked mob lynching attacks across the country. The Government has also directed that spread of such messages should be immediately contained through the application of appropriate technology.

Indian officials said the company could not "evade accountability and responsibility".

Besides, Whatsapp is also introducing a label for forwarded messages, so that the reader is more empowered with the knowledge regarding its authenticity. Last week, Facebook announced that researchers could earn $50,000 for proposals related to "detection of problematic behavior within encrypted systems", among other topics.

WhatsApp didn't share any future product changes it has planned, but fact-checkers have expressed their desire for reverse image search capability and a label that indicates who originally sent a message.


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