WhatsApp now flags ‘forwarded’ messages to combat fake news

Whatsapp to introduce new tool to address fake news

Facebook Inc.'s WhatsApp messaging platform on Tuesday published advertisements in key Indian newspapers to tackle the spread of misinformation, its first such effort to combat a flurry of fake messages that prompted mob lynchings.

Whatsapp Under Fire For Spam, Fake News!

Deep disapproval of such developments has been conveyed to the senior management of the WhatsApp and they have been advised that necessary remedial measures should be taken to prevent proliferation of these fake and at times motivated/sensational messages.

From now on, WhatsApp will put a "forwarded" label on these messages. Users will need to have the latest supported version of WhatsApp on their phone to see the new forwarded label, the company explained.

The messaging app owned by Facebook says it will from now onwards indicate which messages you receive have been forwarded to you and not created by the sender. The ads begin with the headline "Together we can fight false information" and offer tips on how users can identify whether news they read via shared messages on WhatsApp is true or not.

WhatsApp has been struggling to control the spread of misinformation and fake news on its platform.

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If you are not sure of the source or concerned that the information maybe untrue, think twice before sharing.

WhatsApp has been at the centre of many controversies, particularly in India following reports of lynching incidents after fake messages were spread through WhatsApp.

It's also now testing a feature that labels forwarded messages so that recipients can distinguish whether it's already been doing the rounds, or if it was composed by the sender.

The feature will warn users about suspicious links beforehand by automatically checking them in the message and will be able to determine if the links are safe.

Most recently a mob surrounded and killed five men in Maharashtra state denounced as child kidnappers, a pernicious rumor blamed for similar murders in at least 11 Indian states. The Government has also directed that spread of such messages should be immediately contained through the application of appropriate technology.

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