Online messaging platform WhatsApp has announced to roll out radio campaign across Indian states to raise awareness against fake news and how such information, users receive, can be verified before he/she circulates it.
The radio campaign will air across 46 Hindi speaking stations of All India Radio (AIR). With the success, the awareness programme is also expected to be introduced in various regional languages.
“The act of educating users of inflammatory content will caution users to be careful about forwarding messages that contain misinformation and doing so, could also have serious repercussions,” PTI quoted WhatsApp spokesperson as saying.
A Facebook-owned company, WhatsApp has been facing criticism over the spread of fake news ever since reports of incidents surfaced, involving mob lynching, etc. The unfortunate killings had taken place in the states like Assam, Maharashtra, Karnataka, Tripura, and West Bengal, which sent shockwaves across the country through the platform.
Hoax messages about child kidnappers being seen in villages recently spread like wildfire on WhatsApp, which allegedly caused death of two men by a mob in Assam for falsely speculating them to be kidnappers, but were actually innocent.
Recenlty, a fake video had surfaced in which a man in a military uniform was seen talking about the relief operations and criticising the Kerala chief minister. Another fake news said that Portuguese footballer Cristiano Ronaldo donated $11 Mn to the Kerala flood disaster fund, and another showed cracks in the Mullaperiyar dam in Kerala’s Idukki district.
What Is WhatsApp Doing To Tackle The Fake News Problem In India?
Recently, WhatsApp CEO Chris Daniels visited India to meet the IT Minister and discussed concerns around fake news on its messaging platform. The IT Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad had requested Daniels to set up a grievance cell in India.
Upon receiving a letter from the Ministry of Electronics and IT, WhatsApp launched the forwards label, aimed at helping users to identify if a text or video has been forwarded by another user and not originally composed.
WhatsApp has also added a feature to its app preventing users from re-adding former members of messaging groups and has enabled group administrators to decide who can send messages.
WhatsApp is said to be considering Hyderabad as a base for WhatsApp’s customer service operations after meeting Telangana IT minister K T Rama Rao (KTR) in Hyderabad during his one week visit starting from August 21.