WhatsApp moves to combat false news in Pakistan
World’s popular messaging app WhatsApp has taken a full-page newspaper add in a local English daily apprising users ways to spot spread of false and fake news.
As elections are also approaching near, the Facebook-owned WhatsApp finds it appropriate to inform public, before the messaging app is manipulated to negatively impact July 25 polls in Pakistan.
Just this month, India asked WhatsApp messenger to take steps to prevent the circulation of false texts and provocative content that have led to a series of lynchings and mob beatings across the country in the past few months.
WhatsApp is used by more than 1.5 billion people across the world and hence the risk of fake news spreading via this messaging service is generally very high.
The ad, published in the Pakistani English daily reads at the start, “Together we can fight false information” and includes 10 tips on how to spot fake messages. The tips inform readers on checking the accuracy of the information by looking for information from other sources and observing the photos closely to identify whether they are photoshopped or original…”
The company says: “To fight fake news, we all need to work together – technology companies, the government, and community groups. If you see something that’s not true, make people aware and help stop the spread.”
Last week, Facebook also issued a statement saying it has ramped up its efforts to ensure they doing everything they can to prevent abuse, working in collaboration with the Election Commission of Pakistan to better understand and address the specific challenges faced here.