Facebook-owned messaging application WhatsApp has joined arms with NASSCOM Foundation, the social arm of the industry body to impart digital knowledge to users to tackle the challenge of misinformation.
According to the company, the partnership is aimed at training approximately 1 Lakh Indians to help them to spot false information and provide tips to stay safe on the platform.
The co-created curriculum will help people to be aware of forwarding rumours. The training will include real-world anecdotes and tools which can be used to verify the forwarded messages. Users will also be able to report problematic content to the fact checkers.
In order to spread the initiative among more number of peoples, the training will be made available in several regional languages.
The first training will be reportedly hosted on March 27 in Delhi followed by programmes such as training workshops for representatives from rural and urban areas along with roadshows across colleges.
According to NASSCOM, the initiative will include volunteers to launch the ‘Each One Teach Three’ campaign as a part of its MyKartavya Program. Under this, NASSCOM calls for people to register themselves as a volunteer and read the curriculum for the training available on the official NASSCOM website.
Following this, the volunteer will have to train three people and make them go through an assessment and ask them to again register as volunteers and train three more.
The development came in within some days after WhatsApp India Head Abhijit Bose said in a media statement that the company has to do a lot more to secure the platform.
With India gearing up for the Lok Sabha elections, social media companies have come under the lens due to a growing awareness of misleading information being circulated on these platforms. In order to keep social media platforms safe from the spread of fake news, representatives of Facebook, WhatsApp, Twitter, Google, Sharechat and TikTok will be meeting the Election Commission today ( March 19) on a six-point agenda for the meeting that includes “evolving mechanism by the social media platforms to prevent abuse on their platforms”.
Even though a popular and widely used messaging service, the company has been under scrutiny of the Indian government for the spread of fake news on its platform.
In a bid to control the spread of misinformation, the central government had asked WhatsApp to allow more insight of online discourse, even though it means violating end-to-end encryption policy of the social messaging service in order to curb the spread of fake news and pornography.
To this demand, WhatsApp owner Facebook responded by refusing to comply with the government’s demands. The government is also asking the messaging platform to trace the origin of fake messages being spread across the platform. The company had declined to do so as it would threaten their end-to-end encryption policy.
In response to the government norms for the social media platform, WhatsApp communication head Carl Woog has also expressed his concern saying that the rules are “threatening the very existence of WhatsApp in its current form”.