WhatsApp Launches New Campaign to Curb Fake News Amid COVID-19

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Instant messaging platform WhatsApp on Friday launched a new “check it before you share it” education campaign, expanding its efforts to reduce the spread of misinformation on its platform amid COVID-19 pandemic.

This campaign acts as a simple reminder that it is the responsibility of everyone to double check the facts before forwarding messages to flatten the misinformation curve, WhatsApp said.

It tries to inculcate behaviour that urges users to gain more information about the messages they receive through any of the many ways, like reaching out to the MyGov helpline to receive crucial updates or searching the web.

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“This campaign helps convey our collective responsibility and the need to always verify before sharing information,” Shivnath Thukral, India Head of Public Policy for WhatsApp, said in a statement.

WhatsApp announced the MyGov helpline (+919013151515) last month.

To promote the MyGov helpline, the WhatsApp campaign conveys the precautionary measures that people should take to prevent the spread of COVID-19 like to cough in elbows, stay home, wash your hands, avoid touching your face, and to keep social distancing.

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People will be able to see these ads on Facebook and Instagram, and message the helpline with just one tap, WhatsApp said.

In a bid to curb misinformation related to COVID-19, WhatsApp, which has 400 million users in India, last month said it would limit frequently forwarding messages to 1 chat at a time.

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WhatsApp has faced scrutiny as rumours spread on the platform have been linked to several mob killings in India.

The instant messaging platform, however, said that 90 per cent of messages sent are between two people and it has seen a significant increase in the amount of voice and video calling across India during the COVID-19 pandemic.

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