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WhatsApp launches fact-check service to fight fake news

MUMBAI: WhatsApp said on Tuesday it has launched a tip line for Indians to submit rumours and uncertain information, in the latest step by the messaging service to combat false news in India during the national election.

Facebook-owned WhatsApp said in a statement it was working with an Indian startup called Proto that will help to classify messages sent by users as true, false, misleading or disputed.

A senior WhatsApp executive said in February said India’s political parties have been abusing the popular messaging service ahead of the country’s general election.

“We have seen a number of parties attempt to use WhatsApp in ways that it was not intended, and our firm message to them is that using it in that way will result in bans of our service,” Carl Woog, head of communications for WhatsApp, told reporters.

WhatsApp has tried to curb the spread of fake news by educating users through roadshow campaigns, as well as print and radio advertising. It also limited the number of people someone can forward a message to at one time.

Such misinformation has led to the lynching of over 30 people since January last year, according to data portal IndiaSpend.

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