Days after being reprimanded by the Indian government over the spread of misinformation leading to several lynching deaths across the country, Facebook-owned messaging platform WhatsApp has come up with tips for users to avoid fake news
Days after being reprimanded by the Indian government over the spread of misinformation leading to several lynching deaths across the country, Facebook-owned messaging platform WhatsApp has come up with tips for users to avoid false information. On Tuesday, WhatsApp which has more than 200 million users in the country, came up with advertisements in key Indian newspapers to tackle the spread of fake news in what is its first effort to combat a flurry of fake messages that prompted mob lynchings across the country.
“Together we can fight false information,” read full-page advertisements in some top English language-newspapers which is reportedly a part of the series that will also feature in regional-language dailies. The advertisement urges users to check information before sharing it and cautioned them about the spread of fake news.
The messaging platform also presented a 10-step guide to avoid false information. Here are the tips suggested by WhatsApp –
1. 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.
2. Question information that upsets you
If you read something that makes you angry or afraid, ask whether it was shared to make you feel that way. And if the answer is yes, think twice before sharing it again.
3. Check information that seems unbelievable
Stories that seem hard to believe are often untrue – so check elsewhere to see if they are really true.
4. Look out for messages that look different
Many messages containing hoaxes or fake news have spelling mistakes. Look for these signs so you can check if the information is accurate.
5. 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.
6. 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.
7. Use other sources
Look at other news websites or apps to see if the story is being reported elsewhere. When a story is reported in multiple places, it’s more likely to be true.
8. Be thoughtful about what you share
If you are not sure of the source or concerned that the information may be untrue, think twice before sharing.
9. 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 to receive the message. Just because a message is shared many times, does not make it true.
The company added that everyone needs to work together to fight fake news – technology companies, the government and community groups. It also asked uses to make other people aware and help stop the spread if they notice any false piece of information. WhatsApp has previously said that it is tweaking features and giving users controls in its effort to rein in false messages.