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WhatsApp-funded study on fake news kicks off in four states; London to drive WhatsApp Pay globally

A research project funded by WhatsApp on how fake news affects political behaviour and caste relations is underway in UP, Bihar, Jharkhand and West Bengal, the Economic Times reports. Titled ‘Misinformation in Diverse Societies, Political Behaviour, and Good Governance’, the project is being conducted by Robert A Johns and Sayan Banerjee from the University of Essex, and Srinjoy Bose from the University of New South Wales. It involves 5,000 voters in the four states. The project is one of 20 around the world that the Facebook-owned messaging platform said it would fund last November, after it was accused of being a catalyst for the spread of fake news. Seven of these involve India (see the other six below). WhatsApp said it would put $50,000 into each project, for a total of $1 million. Meanwhile, the Financial Times reports (paywall) that Facebook has chosen London as its base for the global roll-out of WhatsApp pay, before it launches the digital payments service in India. The company has told its engineers to recruit more than 100 people in London, which was chosen because it attracts a multicultural workforce from countries where WhatsApp is widely used, such as India, the report says. Earlier this month, WhatsApp told the Supreme Court of India that its payments service in the country was in trial mode and would launch fully only after compliance with the RBI’s norms, which require companies to store all payments-related data in India. WhatsApp said it was likely to complete the trial -…

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