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WhatsApp rolls out Indian ads against fake news; ‘Forwarded’ label out globally


Last year, Facebook ran ads in the UK with tips on how to spot fake news. That came a month after legislators in that country grilled a top executive in parliament about the company’s practices. Now, Facebook is running a similar ad campaign in India, under the branding of WhatsApp, the messaging service it owns. This time around, the multilingual campaign comes after a back-and-forth with the IT Ministry. The government warned the company that it should use the “appropriate technology” to stop the spread of fake news that often led to people being lynched.

The English and Hindi versions of the full-page newspaper ads by WhatsApp on fake news. The ad will also be coming out in other Indian languages.

The company responded last week that it was working with civil society to fact-check news and raise awareness on spreading rumours. It also said that it would be marking all forwarded messages with a distinct label.

‘Forwarded’ label goes global

WhatsApp started testing a ‘Forwarded’ label for messages that have been sent from a different chat in March. That feature is now available on iOS and Android globally. It’s unclear if the label will be on the KaiOS version of the app, which will roll out to 25 million JioPhones this August. WhatsApp told the government that this label alone is an important part of undermining the credibility of fake news.

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I cover the digital content ecosystem and telecom for MediaNama.

MediaNama’s mission is to help build a digital ecosystem which is open, fair, global and competitive.



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