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Misinformation Combat Alliance and Meta partner on fact-checking helpline on WhatsApp

The initiative is set to begin in March 2024 and will support multiple Indian languages.

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The Misinformation Combat Alliance (MCA) has announced a partnership with Meta to launch a dedicated fact-checking helpline on WhatsApp to combat the spread of deepfakes. The helpline, which will be made available to the public from March 2024 in English, Hindi, Tamil and Telugu, will allow users to flag deepfakes to a WhatsApp chatbot. The focus of the program is to implement “a four-pillar approach – detection, prevention, reporting and driving awareness around the escalating spread of deepfakes.” The MCA will create a ‘Deepfake Analysis Unit’ (DAU) that will respond to messages from the helpline. The unit would require fact-checkers and research organisations associated with the MCA to verify the content and debunk false claims and misinformation. According to the President of Misinformation Combat Alliance, Bharat Gupta, the unit will include “IFCN  [fact-checking network] signatory fact-checkers, journalists, civic tech professionals, research labs and forensic experts come together, with Meta’s support.” Meta’s Director of Public Policy India, Shivnath Thukral, said, “Our collaboration with MCA to launch a WhatsApp helpline dedicated to debunking deepfakes that can materially deceive people is consistent with our pledge under the Tech Accord to Combat Deceptive Use of AI in 2024 Elections.” (Quick context: A group of 20 companies including Meta recently signed an accord to combat the deceptive use of AI in 2024 elections with the intent to curb deepfakes of political candidates, election officials, and other key stakeholders.) At the same time, Meta’s actions are also in keeping with an advisory sent by the IT…

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