WhatsApp testing new label as part of steps to tackle fake messages


In the wake of the Government of India’s missive to take immediate measures to prevent misuse of its platform, WhatsApp, in its response has said that it is taking a number of steps to tackle the issue of fake messages on its platform, including testing a new label that highlights when a message has been forwarded versus composed by the sender.
The company, late on Wednesday, also announced “unrestricted monetary awards” for research on spread of misinformation on its platform to address the problem.
“Like the Government of India, we’re horrified by these terrible acts of violence and wanted to respond quickly to the very important issues you have raised.
We believe this is a challenge that requires government, civil society and technology companies to work together,” the company said in its response to Ministry of Electronics and IT.
The company said that it believed that false news, misinformation, and the spread of hoaxes were issues best tackled collectively: by the government, civil society and technology companies working together.
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It pointed out that recently a number of changes were made to group chats to prevent the spread of unwanted information, which they believe will address some of the specific issues raised by the government.
“We added new protections to prevent people from adding others back into groups which they had left — a form of misuse we think it is important to correct… we launched a new setting that enables administrators to decide who gets to send messages within individual groups,” the company said, adding that this would help reduce the spread of unwanted messages into important group conversations as well as the forwarding of hoaxes and other content.
It added that it had been testing a new label in India that highlights when a message has been forwarded versus composed by the sender. “This could serve as an important signal for recipients to think twice before forwarding messages because it lets a user know if content they received was written by the person they know or a potential rumour from someone else.”


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