WhatsApp fights fake news with Indian newspaper ads

The new feature will help users identify suspicious links shared within the platform

The new feature will help users identify suspicious links shared within the platform

India is Facebook-owned WhatsApp's biggest market with more than 200 million users. The statement states, "WhatsApp is commissioning a competitive set of awards to researchers interested in exploring issues that are related to misinformation on WhatsApp". The company will highlight messages to help users understand that it has not been originally typed out.

Earlier this month, Facebook Inc, Whatsapp's parent firm, in a letter to the Ministry of Communications and Information Technology said that putting a break on the spread of false messages through its platform is a challenge that requires a partnership between the company, government and society. "If you see something that's not true, make people aware and help stop the spread".

Asking users to be thoughtful of what they share, WhatsApp said, "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", reads the tip.

This photo illustration shows an Indian newspaper vendor reading a newspaper with a full back page advertisement from WhatsApp meant to counter fake information, in New Delhi on July 10, 2018.

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The WhatsApp spokesperson did not reply to a specific question on the number of accounts that have been blocked so far this year in India or globally for circulating fake news. "We will build on these efforts going forward", a WhatsApp spokesperson said in an emailed response. If the link looks dubious there will be a "Suspicious Link" message added to it.

Five people were lynched in the western city of Dhule on July 1, after WhatsApp was used to spread a rumor that they were child kidnappers.

In one of the features set to roll out this week WhatsApp users will be able to distinguish messages that have been forwarded. In a statement, Whatsapp said in part that it is "horrified by these bad acts of violence".

WhatsApp had also teamed up with Indian fact-checking group to fight hoax news stories.

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