WhatsApp launches fact-checking service

WhatsApp developers continue their campaign against fake news in the messenger. The WhatsApp team has announced a partnership with Indian startup Proto. Their developments will help users of the messenger to classify messages into four categories – true, false, misleading or controversial.

WhatsApp users will now be able to check how the messages they receive correspond to reality. However, only the residents of India can use the innovation so far. The innovation will mark WhatsApp’s next step in tackling fake news ahead of India’s general elections. The first round of elections in India is set to begin on April 11, with the final results expected on May 23.

After successfully passing the test of the service in one country, the developers will enable the functionality for all users of the messenger around the world.

Users are encouraged to send misinformation or rumors to a special number. The received data will be analyzed by employees of the Indian company Proto. Once verified, the messages will be assigned the status of true, false, misleading, or objectionable.

The goal of this project is to study the phenomenon of disinformation at scale. The problem of viral disinformation requires more joint efforts and cannot be solved by any one organization, according to Proto. As new data from the messenger arrives, the company will be able to identify the most vulnerable or affected problems, places, languages, regions, etc. The developers will also create a special database to better study the issue of incoming misinformation.

The system will initially support a total of five languages ​​- English, Hindi, Telugu, Bengali and Malayalam. The check will be carried out not only for text, but also for videos and images.

Note that earlier the service limited the number of possible transfers of one message to 5 times. Moreover, these messages are marked in the correspondence with a special label.