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WhatsApp launches forwards label to combat fake news in India


Facebook-owned WhatsApp on 10 July rolled out “Forwarded” label to its 1.5 million monthly active users globally, including over 200 millions in India. It is a measure to help users yo know if a text or a video is originally composed or forwarded from another user.

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This latest move from WhatsApp comes weeks after the government told the platform to use technology to combat fake news and misinformation on its platform.

On 3 July WhatsApp was pulled up by the Indian government and directed to take immediate action in the light of growing instances of lynching of innocent people owing to irresponsible messages filled with rumours and provocations circulated on its platform.

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On Tuesday, the platform also released full-page advertisements in national dailies to educate people on fake news. This extra context will help make one-on-one and group chats easier to follow. It will also help in determining if a friend or relative wrote the message they sent or if it originally came from someone else. To see this new forwarded label, one has to have the latest version of WhatsApp.

In a sad turn of events, rumours on WhatsApp platform have led to the death of nearly 31 people in 10 states over the past one year. The incidents of violence include lynch mobs mobilised by rumours of child lifting spread over WhatsApp in Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh, Maharashtra and Assam.

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