Election Commission of India, earlier in the month held a meeting with top executives of several social media giants such as Facebook, its subsidiary WhatsApp, Google and Twitter, among others to discuss the measures to be taken to combat spread of misinformation and also propaganda content, mostly defaming the opponents, on their respective platforms ahead of the upcoming Lok Sabha 2019 elections.
Last week, WhatsApp in collaboration with the National Association of Software and Services Companies (NASSCOM) Foundation announced to work on improving digital literacy among youth in the country to curb the spread of fake news. It is slated to kick off on March 27.
Now, WhatsApp has launched another standalone campaign—'Spread Joy, Not Rumours' in India. With several videos, the company plans to educate people on the controls available in WhatsApp so they are empowered to stop the spread of misinformation. The short online videos can be seen on social media platforms and are a step by step tutorial on how to exit a group, block a contact and the significance of the forwarding label. They are available on YouTube in several regional dialects including Gujarati, Hindi, Kannada, Marathi, Telugu, Bengali and Assamese in addition to English.
"Proactively working with the Election Committee and local partners for a safe election is our top priority. Expanding our education campaign to help people easily identify and stop malicious messages is another step towards improving the safety of our users," Abhijit Bose, WhatsApp India head, said in a statement.
Also, there are ways for the WhatsApp users to report spam or block abusive content with a single tap by going to setting options.
Here's how you can report issues to WhatsApp:
- On Android: Simply go to WhatsApp > Menu Button > Settings > About and help > Contact Us.
- On iPhone: Simply go to WhatsApp > Settings > About and Help > Contact Us.
- On Windows Phone: Simply go to WhatsApp > more > settings > about > support.
In a related development, Facebook-owned WhatsApp is testing a new-- Reverse Image Search--feature, that will allow users to cross check any forwarded image on the Google browser and match it with the vast visual data available on the Internet. This will apparently give you a clear idea on whether the image is a morphed photo or genuine one.
The general election is being conducted in seven phases, starting from April 11 to May 19 and the counting of votes will be held on May 23.