WhatsApp’s full-page newspaper ads offer tips to spot fake news | tech | Hindustan Times
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WhatsApp’s full-page newspaper ads offer tips to spot fake news

WhatsApp suggested users cross-check information against reputable news sources and not share the messages further if they doubt their authenticity.

tech Updated: Jul 10, 2018 16:22 IST
WhatsApp,WhatsApp Fake News,WhatsApp Spam
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.(AFP)

WhatsApp took out full-page advertisements in Indian newspapers Tuesday offering “easy tips” to identify fact from fiction after a slew of recent murders spurred by hoaxes shared on its platform.

The Facebook-owned messaging service has been under immense pressure to curb the spread of misinformation in India after the lynching of more than 20 people accused of child abduction in the last two months. Most recently a mob surrounded and killed five men in Maharashtra state denounced as child kidnappers, a pernicious rumour blamed for similar murders in at least 11 Indian states.

WhatsApp said it was “horrified” by the violence and promised swift action but Indian authorities have accused the social media giant of acting irresponsibly in its largest market. The slick adverts in leading English and Hindi language newspapers, entitled “together we can fight false information”, listed 10 tips for users seeking to sort truth from rumour.

“Do not pay attention to the number of times you receive the message. Just because a message is shared many times, does not make it true,” offer one of the tidbits of advice.

It also suggested users cross-check information against reputable news sources and not share the messages further if they doubt their authenticity. WhatsApp will soon launch a new feature on its platform in India that will clearly identify whether a message has been forwarded or written by the user.

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

Together We Can Fight False Information
Here are some easy tips to help you decide if some thing sent to you on WhatsApp is true.
01) Understand when a message is forwarded:
Starting this week, we’re rolling out a new feature that lets you see which messages have been forwarded. Double check the facts when you’re not sure who wrote the original message.
02) Question information that upsets you:
If you read something that makes you angry or afraid, ask whether it was shared to make youfeel that way. And if the answer is yes, think twice before sharing it again.
03) Check information that seems unbelievable:
Stories that seem hard to believe are often untrue – so check elsewhere to see if they are really true.
04) Look out for messages that look different:
Many messages containing hoaxes or fakenews have spelling mistakes. Look for these signs so you can check if the information is accurate.
05) Check photos in messages carefully:
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.
06) And check links too:
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.
07) Use other sources:
Look at other news websites or apps to see if the story is being reported elsewhere. When astory is reported in multiple places, it’s more likely to be true.
08) Be thoughtful about what you share:
If you are not sure of the source or concerned that the information maybe untrue, think twice before sharing.
09) You can control what you see:
On WhatsApp you can block any number or leave any group you want. Use these features to keep control of your WhatsApp experience.
10) Fake news often goes viral:
Do not pay attention to the number of times you receive the message. Just because a message is shared many times, does not make it true.
To fight fake news, we all need to work together–technology companies,the government and community groups. If you see something that’s not true, make people aware and help stop the spread.

WhatsApp has said it can block spam but cannot read the content of messages for privacy reasons, including potentially problematic content spreading in user chats. Rumours on WhatsApp about child kidnappers saw eight men killed in eastern Indian last year but the same information has since resurfaced.

Spam messages warning parents about child kidnapping gangs have sprung up in multiple regional languages in India in recent months, sometimes accompanied by gruesome videos of child abuse.

Police in several states have denied the existence of such criminal groups.

India is WhatsApp’s largest market, with an estimated 200 million users sending a billion encrypted messages each day. ALSO READ: WhatsApp introduces new tool to address fake news, spam

First Published: Jul 10, 2018 14:28 IST