World News

New WhatsApp feature to fight suspicious links and more

New WhatsApp feature to fight suspicious links and more

In recent months there has been a rise in fake news spreading across WhatsApp in India that has resulted in mob lynchings of innocent people, reports Reuters.

We're used to hearing about "fake news" in the context of American politics, but this modern-day phenomenon has spread all over the world.

Last week, a 'Suspicious Link Detection' feature was also spotted on WhatsApp that is created to highlight the presence of a suspicious link in a message.

The false mesages circulating in India are making people violent. The company has suggested looking for other sources of the same information, leaving groups to control what you read, questioning information that may upset you among other tips.

Experts said the that the need to curb fake news has also assumed urgency ahead of India's general elections scheduled for next year - WhatsApp has become the favored medium for political parties to target voters. According to WhatsApp, "many messages containing hoaxes or fake news have spelling mistakes".

Facebook's encrypted messaging app is favored worldwide for its privacy, but that same feature makes it hard to police the spread of misinformation.

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The full-page ads, which ran in English, Hindi and other languages in daily papers, include tips for spotting fake news messages on WhatsApp.

All these companies are fighting an uphill battle to stop the spread of false information, and it's still too early to say what impact - if any - their efforts are having on the fake news frenzy.

WhatsApp has started rolling out a feature that will indicate to users which messages they receive were forwarded by as is the sender.

"We launched a new setting that enables administrators to decide who gets to send messages within individual groups".

Most recently a mob surrounded and killed five men in Maharashtra state denounced as child kidnappers, a pernicious rumor blamed for similar murders in at least 11 Indian states.

Apart from these in-platform changes, WhatsApp has released a 10-point circular on major newspapers circulated across the country.