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WhatsApp responds to MEITY; Full Text

WhatsApp has responded to the Ministry of Electronics and IT (MEITY) regarding the series of mob lynchings across the country which resulted in the deaths of 22 people. The deaths were provoked by viral rumours which spread on WhatsApp. The ministry had asked the platform to look into the matter and take measures to control the spread of fake and often sensational/provocative information being sent on it.  Our strategy has been twofold: First, to give people the controls and information they need to stay safe; and Second, to work proactively to prevent misuse on WhatsApp. WhatsApp said it will introduce/has introduced the following changes to combat misinformation:   All forwarded messages will be labelled as 'forwards' to "let a user know if content they received was written by the person they know or a potential rumor from someone else." This feature may not be very helpful as a person can generally identify a forwarded message (and believe them anyway). WhatsApp needs to explain to users what the forwarded tag is for and what it might mean in English and vernacular languages for the feature to work. WhatsApp has introduced the WhatsApp Research Awards for Social Science and Misinformation, a set of awards that provide funding for independent research into combatting misinformation. The research is meant to be shared with WhatsApp, Facebook, and wider scholarly and policy communities.  WhatsApp will begin fact-checking with the help of third-parties, an initiative which has been successful in Mexico and Brazil. WhatsApp also said it will “work to…

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