Facebook-owned instant messaging app, WhatsApp, today introduced a new fact-checking service in India. WhatsApp users in India can forward messages to the Checkpoint Tipline, where a local startup Proto will assess and mark the messages as ‘true,’ ‘false,’ ‘misleading,’ or ‘disputed.’
The fact-checking service has been rolled out just a couple of weeks ahead of general elections in India to curb the spread of fake news. For the past few years, WhatsApp has been under tight scrutiny by the Indian government for facilitating the spread of fake news across the country.
According to the Proto’s founders Ritvvij Parrikh and Nasr ul Hadi, the aim of fact-checking service is to ‘understand the misinformation phenomenon at scale.’ The startup also plans to submit its study to the International Centre for journalists.
Checkpoint Tipline will support English, Hindi, Telugu, Bengali and Malayalam and is designed to curb false information, be it text, videos or images. Along with Proto, the instant messaging app is also working in collaboration with Dig Deep Media and Meedan to curb the spread of misinformation.
The company recently limited the forwarding of a message to only five times. Since WhatsApp uses encryption technique on its platform that makes it hard to regulate messages, as not even WhatsApp is capable of viewing sent messages.