- WhatsApp is increasing its efforts to tackle fake news and spam campaigns in India.
- The company revealed that it is using machine learning to automate bans on fake and infringing accounts.
- WhatsApp has also partnered with BuffaloGrid and local network operators to spread awareness about fake news.
With the general elections coming up in India, WhatsApp outlined its plans to tackle fake news and bulk messaging. The messaging platform was heavily criticized last year for not tackling the fake news problem in India which led to mob lynching incidents and deaths of several individuals.
WhatsApp’s company executives revealed that a new machine learning system has been built to identify users who are linked to inappropriate behavior. Users who send bulk messages or create multiple accounts to spread content that violates terms of service will be banned. Fake accounts get locked out when they are reported, and currently, 2 million accounts are banned each month.
WhatsApp software engineer Matt Jones revealed that the new machine learning system will automate the banning process and up to 20% of fake accounts get banned right at the signup process. Most of the bans are automated and do not need any human intervention. The company stated, “Regardless of the intent, automated and bulk messaging violates our terms of service, and one of our priorities is to prevent and stop this kind of abuse.”
According to Jones, WhatsApp has identified the use of software that is designed for bulk messaging. The use of modified emulators and bulk messaging is also a banworthy offense, and any such activity will be dealt with.
The number of texts that can be forwarded to other users was limited in the country, and a number of campaigns were also launched to educate WhatsApp users in the country. The company partnered with UK based startup BuffaloGrid to take on the fake news problem. WhatsApp is also working with telecom operators to spread awareness about the fake news problem in the country.