WhatsApp uses newspaper ads to fight fake news in India

The new feature will help users identify suspicious links shared within the platform

As rumours on WhatsApp continue to spread unchecked, the messaging app owned by social media giant Facebook Inc on Tuesday published a full-page advertisement in Indian newspapers with tips to fight fake news.

This new feature will join a host of new ways to use WhatsApp after recent updates rolled out to the 1.8 billion plus users of the service.

A new report by WA Beta Info also shows that WhatsApp is also working on a suspicious link detection feature that will be introduced in an upcoming version of WhatsApp. The move came after a series of violent lynchings were triggered by the spread of false information. IT Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad asked WhatsApp to take measures to control the spread of fake news via its platform. "As a reminder, you can report spam or block a contact in one tap and can always reach out to WhatsApp directly for help".

"This link contains unusual characters".

Readers are advised to check if a message has been forwarded - WhatsApp is rolling out a new feature to help people identify forwarded messages.

"Our first step is placing newspaper advertisements in English and Hindi and several other languages. We will build on these efforts", outlines the news advertisement.

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

Once the app detects any suspicious link, it will then mark the link with a red label to let users easily differentiate between a fake and genuine link.

Five people were lynched to death by villagers in Maharashtra's Dhule district after videos of child lifters were actively circulated on a WhatsApp group.

In response to the killings and government criticism, the Facebook-owned platform will reportedly roll out a feature that helps users determine when a message is forwarded rather than written by the sender.

"It has also been pointed out that such a platform can not evade accountability and responsibility, especially when good technological inventions are abused by miscreants who resort to provocative messages for spreading violence", the statement added.

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