A service launched by WhatsApp in India on Tuesday, April 2, lets over 200 million of its users flag fake news, misinformation, and rumours pertaining to the Lok Sabha 2019 elections.
Launched by a media-skilling start-up named PROTO, the 'tipline' will help individuals create a database of rumours to study misleading information during elections for a research project commissioned by WhatsApp called ‘Checkpoint’, said the Facebook-owned company in its.
Rumours and false information related to the Lok Sabha elections can be submitted by the people of the country to the “Checkpoint Tipline by WhatsApp” at +91-9643-000-888.
PROTO is helped by Dig Deeper Media and Meedan, to develop the verification and research frameworks for the nation.
"The goal of this project is to study the misinformation phenomenon at scale -- natively in WhatsApp," said PROTO's founders Ritvvij Parrikh and Nasr ul Hadi.
Dig Deeper Media and Meedan previously has worked on multiple misinformation-related projects around the world.
Upon sharing a deceptive message with the tipline PROTO's verification centre will seek to respond and inform the user if the claim made in the message shared is verified or not.
The response will immediately indicate if the claims made by the sender of the message are true, false, misleading, disputed or out of scope. It will also include any other information that is available on the topic.
"The centre can review rumours in the form of pictures, video links or text and will cover four regional languages including Hindi, Telugu, Bengali and Malayalam, other than English," said WhatsApp.
Furthermore, PROTO aims at submitting learnings from the project to the International Center for Journalists to help other organisations learn from the design and operations of this project.
"The research from this initiative will help create a global benchmark for those wishing to tackle misinformation in their own markets," said Fergus Bell, Founder and CEO, Dig Deeper Media and Meedan.
(With PTI inputs)