Friday, 16 November, 2018

WhatsApp turns to newspaper ads to spread awareness against fake news

Pixabay Pixabay
Faye Gross | 11 July, 2018, 04:44

The government's warning to WhatsApp comes in the wake of a spate of incidents involving lynching of innocent people because of certain "fake and motivated" messages being circulated on the widely used messaging app.

Judging by the links (and malware spread through fake links) that are continuously being shared on the internet, this feature seems to be very useful.

It is unclear that on what basis is WhatsApp identifying a link as a suspicious one. It's a small shift for the messaging platform, but potentially one that could make a big difference in the way people transmit information, especially dubious viral content, over the app.

According to a report by WABetainfo, the new feature will restrict the spam circulation by scanning the links that are being sent or received by the users. We encourage you to think before sharing messages that were forwarded. "If you read something that makes you angry or afraid, ask whether it was shared to make you feel that way".

It may look like the link to a well-known website but if there are spelling mistakes or unusual characters, it's usually a sign something's wrong. Our first step is placing newspaper advertisements across the country in English, Hindi, and several other languages. WhatsApp told Poynter it plans to build on those efforts in the future. Group admins will also be able to restrict a user from sending a particular message.

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The Suspicious Link Detection tool has appeared on Android versions of the app attempting to fight the spread of fake news and the spamming of malicious links.

More than 25 people have been killed in India in recent months after rumours were spread on smartphones about child kidnappers, thieves and sexual predators.

Facebook-owned Whatsapp is reportedly working on a Suspicious Link Detection feature to curb spam messages from spreading on its platform.

"It has also been pointed out that such a platform can not evade accountability and responsibility, especially when good technological inventions are abused by miscreants who resort to provocative messages for spreading violence", the statement added.

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