WhatsApp launches fact-check service to combat fake news problem ahead of Indian polls

WhatsApp, in a bid to control the repercussions of reckless and rampant sharing of fake news, on Tuesday launched a feature which helps users check the veracity of information provided. The move, which has been praised by many, comes just ahead of the 2019 Indian Elections. The first phase of the elections are scheduled to begin on April 11 with final results expected on May 23.

With over 200 million users in India alone, the messaging app with their ‘one touch forward’ option serves as a huge platform for fake news perpetrators – a problem which needed addressing. Therefore, amidst growing criticism, WhatsApp launched ‘Checkpoint Tipline’ – wherein, the messaging app will classify the information as ‘true, false, misleading, or disputed’.

WhatsApp is working with a local startup company Proto to provide the service. Proto will also build a database of such content to better understand misinformation.

The launch comes after WhatsApp owner Facebook Inc said on Monday it had deleted 712 accounts and 390 pages in India and Pakistan for “inauthentic behaviour”, saying many were linked to India’s opposition Congress party and others related to Pakistan’s military.

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