The Facebook owned messaging giant Whatsapp has been looking out for options to control the spread of fake news and rumours; and is now trying out a solution of inserting a forwarded label to all messages that are forwarded on the messenger.
The most popular messaging app in the world – Whatsapp, is facing some real issues garnered from the platform – the spread of fake news leading to lynching and violence; especially in India. Like a rumour of child kidnappers abducting children for organ abduction has become rampantly viral on the app. Creating havoc and chaos among people, the spread of this mere rumour has led to killing of around 20 people in various states of the country including Andhra Pradesh, Assam, Chhattisgarh, Gujarat, Karnataka, Maharashtra, Tamil Nadu, Telangana, Tripura, and West Bengal. Recently, five men were doubted to be child kidnappers and were killed because of misinformation shared through Whatsapp.
After a series of such mob lynchings cases, Whatsapp decided to tackle the issue with a feasible and effective solution. Venturing out for finding ways to solve the critical issue, Whatsapp has introduced an option under which, every forwarded message will come with a ‘forwarded’ label on it. With WhatsApp’s safety policy ensuring end-to-end encryption of messages without any third-party interference, scanning fake messages was not an option. However, the new forwarded label doesn’t violate the privacy of users, yet, informs the receiver about the originality of the text they’ve received.
Whatsapp has also introduced another feature to control what is being posted on groups by providing publishing authority only to the admin of a group. With this feature, the admin will be the only person to decide who can post their message in the group. While testing out the new Forwarded label and new admin controls, Whatsapp is working on grass-root level to fight fake news and has appointed street-performers and rumor busters to educate the people regarding the fake news issue and uproot the problem – once and for all.