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WhatsApp to run a television campaign in India; an initiative to crackdown fake news

Dec 3, 2018, 7:30 am

Starting Monday, WhatsApp Launches TV Campaign a global first for the Facebook-owned company to Fight against Fake News in India. It has also published full-page ads in most newspapers, cautioning people to stop the spread of rumors and fake news through its platform.

The Facebook-owned company WhatsApp has expanded its efforts to address the challenge of misinformation starting with newspaper ads and then moving on to radio campaigns, to create awareness among users. The first phase of the campaign was kicked off on August 29 with ads across 46 radio stations of the All India Radio (AIR) in states like Bihar, Jharkhand, Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, Rajasthan, and Uttar Pradesh.

The second phase of the campaign started on September 5 with radio ads across 83 AIR radio stations in Assam, Tripura, West Bengal, Gujarat, Karnataka, Maharashtra, Andhra Pradesh, and Telangana, Orissa and Tamil Nadu.

WhatsApp has signed up Filmmaker and director Shirsha Guha Thakurta to make three 60 seconds videos that explain the entire dangerous situation that could happen because of Fake news. In a statement, it has conducted extensive research with users in India and then developed three ad films that are based on a real user’s experience.

The three films will be available on TV, Facebook, and YouTube in nine languages, these languages include English, Hindi, Bengali, Kannada, Telugu, Assamese, Gujarati, Marathi, and Malayalam.

The rumors spread on the popular messaging platform which has over 200 million users in India have been linked to several lynching incidents in the country, forcing the government to send a stern message to the company. Besides, WhatsApp continues to strengthen its spam detection capabilities and ban accounts that engage in an unwanted automated activity.

The company what-so-ever has not accepted government’s demand for traceability of messages saying creating such a software will go against the idea of user privacy. The government has warned the messaging platform that it will treat it as an abettor of rumor propagation and legal consequences will follow if adequate checks are not put in place.

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