Following a string of mob lynching cases over social media, WhatsApp, the Facebook-owned instant messaging platform on Tuesday published an advertisement in major newspapers to tackle the spread of fake news and rumors on its platform.
The full-page advertisement, first in the series of its user awareness drive, read ‘Together we can fight false information’ and gave tips to spot fake news messages.
WhatsApp, in its advertisement, advised reader to check if a message has been forwarded and urges the readers to double check facts.
WhatsApp also reminded its users that fake news often goes viral and just because a message is shared many times, does not make it true.
“Do not pay attention to the number of times you receive the message. Just because a message is shared many times, does not make it true,” the advertisement read.
More than 20 people had been killed over the last two months, fuelled by fake news and rumors, the latest being the killing of five men in Dhule district of Maharashtra on July 1, who were killed on suspicion of child lifting.
With over 200 million active users, India is WhatsApp’s largest market.
The Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology on July 2 had written to WhatsApp asking it to take immediate steps to prevent the circulation of false information and provocative content, and emphasised that the company cannot evade accountability and responsibility.
(With inputs from agencies)