Facebook-owned messaging platform WhatsApp has unveiled a new feature within the app to tackle fake news in the country ahead of elections. The feature called ‘Checkpoint Tipline,’ which can be added to your WhatsApp with (+919643000888) number. Once the number has been added to your WhatsApp, users can find the Checkpoint Tipline within the chats timeline wherein users can submit misinformation or rumors, which they receive via an image, video or audio format within the groups or conversations. The new feature is said to be supporting multiple languages that include – English, Hindi, Telugu, Malayalam, and Bengali as well.
The messaging platform has launched this feature in collaboration with PROTO, an Indian startup, and a social enterprise company. Whenever a WhatsApp user shares any misinformation or a piece of news (which they feel like a fake or inappropriate or false) to the Tipline, PROTO’s verification facility would seek to respond and inform the respective user on whether the shared information is verified or not. This further clarifies whether the information is accurate, deceptive or misleading and also includes related information response as well.
The startup PROTO is also said to be operating with associations at the grassroots level to submit misinformation wandering all over India especially during the election period. PROTO’s co-founders Ritvvij Parrikh and Nasr ul Hadi had stated the goal of this project is to study the misinformation phenomenon at scale, and also once more data flows in the identification process would be easier and can focus on the affected issues, they said.
Ahead of elections, the parent company Facebook recently had deleted 712 accounts and 390 pages in India for ‘inauthentic behavior’ stating many of them were linked to Indian opposition party Congress party. Early this year, WhatsApp had also introduced a new measure to limit the number of messages to be forwarded, which was also aimed to stop circulating fake news in mass number. And, the company has recently been testing a reverse image search powered by Google in the latest beta, which also deals with false images that are being wandered immensely all over.