Ahead of the Lok Sabha elections, Facebook backed WhatsApp, that has been infamous in the recent past for fake news, has decided to mend ways. The platform has launched a new fact-checking service in India that will let users forward messages to ‘Checkpoint Tipline’ number which will help them verify if the message they have received is true or not.
All you have to do is add the number that is flashing on your screen to your contact list and forward the message in question on WhatsApp. Once assessed, these messages will be marked as true, false, misleading, or disputed.
For this fact-checking service, WhatsApp has partnered with a Delhi-based media startup called Proto. WhatsApp had set up similar fact-checking processes in the past to combat misinformation during the elections in France and Mexico with organisations like Meedan and Dig Deeper Media – both will also help Proto develop their verification and research frameworks for India.
As of now, Proto’s verification centre can support five languages - English, Hindi, Telugu, Bengali and Malayalam and can review rumours in the form of pictures, video links or text.
But what is the turnaround time for services provided by Proto? Well, it has been an hour since we sent a message and a response is still awaited.
With just one week left for the first phase of Lok Sabha elections, how is WhatsApp going to reach out to users to educate them about this service? Will WhatsApp be able to scale this at an effective pace? Let us wait and watch.