Whatsapp has fostered spread of misinformation resulting in lynchings.
Hyderabad: WhatsApp has become the primary medium for communication and law makers are unable to hold the platform responsible for spreading fake news or misinformation.
WhatsApp is looking for researchers who can help them fight fake news.
Since the messaging platform has become the primary source of information and communication for Indians, WhatsApp is looking for research conducted in India and other countries including Brazil, Indonesia and Mexico.
The messaging app has encryption in place and any message you send cannot be read by the company.
Only people exchanging the messages can read them. If the platform reads the messages, it becomes invasion of privacy. So it wants researchers to come out with solutions such that, when a fake message is sent it is flagged.
It may be mentioned here that due to circulation of fake messages of child kidnapping, a transgender was killed in Chandrayangutta. The attack came after several fake videos of “kidnappers” began doing the rounds on WhatsApp groups in the city. At the moment, there is hardly any way to stop the spreading of fake information on Whatsapp; so Hyderabad City police officials have issued a warning to group administrators and others with criminal action if they involve in fake propaganda or spread fake news.
To avoid such situations in future and to prevent making the innocent culpable, Whatsapp is seeking the help of the public. “The program will make unrestricted awards of up to $50,000 per research proposal. All applications will be reviewed by WhatsApp research staff, with the consultation of external experts. Payment will be made to the proposer’s host university or organization as an unrestricted gift,” said WhatsApp.
Recently at session on fake news epidemic, Mr Pratik Sinha of Alt-news said, “If a message has some finger print, most of the conversations will be recorded. WhatsApp is working with several agencies like us to fight misinformation.”
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