WhatsApp is now adding a new invite system to let users decide which groups they would like to join, reports NDTV. Currently, any WhatsApp user can be automatically added to any group without their consent; the new invite system will do away with this. The feature will begin rolling out to users starting today, and will be available worldwide in the coming weeks. Users will have the choice in which they would have to approve every invite to join a group, or let only people in their contacts add them to groups automatically. In this case, the person will be prompted to send the you a private invite through an individual chat, letting you choose within three days whether to join the group or not. Users can also let anyone invite you to a group by selecting ‘Everyone’.

‘Checkpoint Tipline’ to verify suspicious information

Earlier today, we reported that WhatsApp launched ‘Checkpoint Tipline’ with media startup Proto to receive and verify suspicious information and rumours on WhatsApp during the elections. Users can send rumours to the number (+91-9643-000-888), which Proto will classify as true, false, misleading, disputed, or out of scope. Proto will review rumours containing pictures, video links, or text, and will cover four regional languages – Hindi, Telugu, Bengali, and Malayalam – apart from English.

WhatsApp’s efforts against fake news

  • Earlier this month, WhatsApp partnered with NASSCOM Foundation to run workshops to fight misinformation. The workshops encourage people to be mindful about forwarding rumours, by teaching them how to verify forwards, and how to report problematic content to fact checkers and law enforcement.
  • WhatsApp has been struggling to contain the spread of fake news on its platform in India, its largest market with more than 250 million users. Rumours spread on WhatsApp have led to instances of riots and lynchings in the past two years.

In July 2018, the Union government ordered WhatsApp to take steps to curb the spread of fake news on its platform, or face legal action. WhatsApp responded by labelling all forwarded messages as such, removing the quick-forward button, and limiting the number of forwards to just five people or groups at a time.