We have been reporting how fake news and hate messages shared and propagated on Facebook is wreaking havoc everywhere.
Already 30+ people have been lynched to death due to such rumors.
Govt. of India has already asked Whatsapp to devise ways inorder to stop this madness.
It seems Whatsapp is indeed serious about this activity, and they have taken some concrete steps to solve this major social problem.
Will it work?
Whatsapp: Stop Fake News and Get $50,000
Whatsapp has announced special grant of $50,000 for Social Scientists who can devise some proven ways to stop sharing of hate messages and fake news via Whatsapp.
As per the directives shared by Whatsapp, the scope of this grant covers digital literacy and solving social issues pertaining to the spread of such messages.
Whatsapp is looking at proposals which can “foster insights into the impact of technology on contemporary society in this problem space” including election-related content, digital literacy and “detection of problematic behavior within encrypted systems.”
It seems that the problem is not unique to India: Whatsapp has already partnered with news organizations in Mexico and Brazil to understand how this fake news spread.
Govt.of India: Stopping Fake News Is Not Rocket Science
Meanwhile IT Ministry has again fired a salvo at Whatsapp, this time being a little more crude and direct.
During a conference in Delhi, IT Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad has claimed that if a large volume of messages is being shared on any platform, say Whatsapp, then they can easily track it, and stop its flow.
He said, “If in any state, any part, on a particular subject, if there is a movement of large volumes of messages on WhatsApp, it is not rocket science that can’t be discovered by application of technology,”
Yesterday we had reported that IT MInistry has formally asked Whatsapp to devise ways to tackle this situation of fake news.
Interestingly, Whatsapp is aware of the problem, and they are doing their own bits of experiment to handle this.
For instance, few weeks back, we had reported that Whatsapp is bringing an update which will put a label on all forwarded messages, thereby making it apparent to the reader that this can be fake and/or spam.
However, since the messages are encrypted on Whatsapp’s platform, it is indeed a technological challenge to figure out how to access and read messages, and then stop its share if found not true.
In a way, it is indeed a rocket science because here, a company and a Govt. is trying to tame the medium of communication.
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