WhatsApp is one of the tools that have changed the way we communicate in the century. The immediacy and speed at which news can be sent is incredible, but it is not always good.
Fake news has also benefited from these improvements in communication and on occasion we have seen how they have become deadly, such as when in India a group of users killed several accused of crimes they had not actually committed. The dissemination of false news was key in that act.
That is why in this country the company has launched a new news verification service, especially designed for fake news, ahead of the elections that will take place shortly in this state.
A first step, but it seems somewhat warm
From the hand of an Indian startup called PROTO, WhatsApp has enabled a special profile called Checkpoint Tipline linked to a phone number (+919643000888) to which any user can send a news that has reached him through the platform.
In PROTO they create a database with the news analyzed, categorizing them as true, false, misleading and then respond to the user who sent it with that response, in addition to explaining the real news.
WhatsApp will tell you how many times a message is forwarded and if it could be spam
A new WhatsApp feature, not yet available or in beta, will focus on the forwarded messages: how many times they were forwarded and if they could be spam.
The idea is positive but requires active action by the user. That is, if someone receives a link with a story and wants to know if it is real or should not send it to Checkpoint Tipline since they will not know if it is not. It would be better if WhatsApp could do it automatically, something that seems complicated given that the platform is encrypted from end to end.
You still have to improve
One of the aspects that can improve is the speed of response since in some cases hours go by until we receive a categorization or explanation.
It is clear that WhatsApp is gradually taking more seriously trying to control the use of its platform to expand fake news but the design itself suggests that it will be something, at least, extremely difficult.