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04 Jul 2018

Govt asks WhatsApp to stop the propagation of fake news

WhatsApp to eliminate fake news in India

The government has asked WhatsApp "in no uncertain terms" to ensure that the platform is not misused for the propagation of fake news.

This comes after several incidents of lynching occurred across the country in Assam, Maharashtra, Karnataka, Tripura, and West Bengal over fake WhatsApp messages.

In India, WhatsApp serves as a major source of false and unverified news.

In context

WhatsApp to eliminate fake news in India
Mobs provoked by "irresponsible and explosive messages" on WhatsApp


Mobs provoked by "irresponsible and explosive messages" on WhatsApp

Recently, 50-60 villagers in Madhya Pradesh allegedly mauled two innocent persons after getting incited by a fake WhatsApp message. It was foreboded that they would murder and sell people's body parts.

Another fake WhatsApp message sparked rumors that 400 child traffickers have entered Bengaluru. This led a mob to lynch an innocent man on mere suspicion.

Immediately curb spread of fake messages: Govt to WhatsApp

"Deep disapproval of such developments has been conveyed to the management of WhatsApp and they have been advised that remedial measures should be taken to prevent the proliferation of these fake and at times motivated/sensational messages," the Ministry of Electronics and IT said.

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WhatsApp to work with "leading academic experts" in India

In light of the deluge of fake news and misinformation, WhatsApp will reportedly commission "WhatsApp Research Awards" to fund independent proposals on researching fake news.

"These are unrestricted monetary awards that offer investigators the freedom to deepen and extend their existing research portfolio," a WhatsApp spokesperson said.

The set of new global awards will offer researchers up to $50,000 per proposal.

WhatsApp actively looking to alleviate the issue from its roots

Researchers who win the award will attend up to two workshops at WhatsApp to brainstorm and collaborate on their ideas with regard to the elimination of fake news. WhatsApp assured that this data won't be stored on its servers.

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