Whatsapp to introduce new tool to address fake news


The feature appears to be part of WhatsApp's efforts to address the issue of fake messages on its platform that have reportedly led to mob lynchings and mob beatings in India.

We're used to hearing about "fake news" in the context of American politics, but this modern-day phenomenon has spread all over the world.

With anti-social elements and criminals more and more employing WhatsApp to share false new via group chats, the firm is aiming to include new features to verify this mistreatment of its instant messaging application.

IT Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad had last week asked for greater accountability from WhatsApp, saying that the government will not tolerate any misuse of the platform to spread fake messages created to "provoke" and "instigate" people. "As a reminder, you can report spam or block a contact in one tap and can always reach out to WhatsApp directly for help".

WhatsApp also reminded its users that fake news "often" goes viral and just because "a message is shared many times, does not make it true".

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. With the new feature, the users will be able to distinguish between forwards and typed messages. The Information and Technology ministry had recently written to WhatsApp to come up with technical measures to control fake news. Lastly, there is the feature where if you received a WhatsApp message, you can find out if it was sent by the sender or forwarded from someone else.

There will be a menu option of Send Messages under the Group Settings, which has two options: "Only Admins" and "All Participants".

Five people were lynched to death by villagers in Maharashtra's Dhule district after videos of child lifters were actively circulated on a WhatsApp group.

And WhatsApp has since taken some steps.

After hoax messages on WhatsApp fueled deadly mob violence in India, the Facebook-owned messaging platform published full-page advertisements in prominent English and Hindi language newspapers advising users on how to spot misinformation.