WhatsApp Releases Its First Commercials for India Warning Users About Fake News
Image Courtesy of WhatsApp
  • WhatsApp is trying to combat the prevalence of fake news in India with the release of its first-ever ads in India.
  • The campaign titled “Share Joy, Not Rumors” is set to be aired in 10 local languages both online and on TV.
  • The company has also taken steps to combat fake news in the country with additional staff and a dedicated page.

After WhatsApp was heavily criticized in recent months for failing to curb the rampant increase in fake news in India, the social media tap took a number of measures to control the situation. A grievance officer was hired to tackle the issues in the country, and a dedicated Facebook page was set up to receive reports of fake news incidents. Group chats in the country were also restricted with respect to how many threads a message can be forwarded to.

In its latest move, WhatsApp has created a number of 60-second commercials set to be aired on TV, YouTube and Facebook. As reported by TNW, the content has been localized for 10 regional languages and is being aired just in time ahead of the Telangana and Rajasthan elections. Elections can lead to an increase in fake news to influence voters, and the problem is rampant in not only India but also in developed countries like the US.

The ads talk about the impact of forwarding fake news and how dubious information should not be shared. Due to an increase in fake news in India, people have lost their lives because of lynching incidents and WhatsApp was heavily criticized by law enforcement and the government.

One of the biggest hindrances to preventing fake news is the app’s encryption system. There is no way for WhatsApp to crack down on rampant fake news campaigns without violating user privacy which is not an option according to the terms of service. However, if such incidents continue to increase globally, the app may be forced into handing over data to enforcement as a means of preventing fake news campaigns and crimes that arise out of them.

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