More than a month after teasing Advance search and Group invitation inside its application, WhatsApp is now introducing ‘Checkpoint Tipline’ which is basically an account to which users can report any rumour or misinformation and check the authenticity of information received. The move comes as a means to crack down on fake news which is only expected to multiply as we head into the main phase of general elections in India.
Starting today, WhatsApp users can report and submit what they think is misinformation to Checkpoint Tipline at +919643000888, directly on WhatsApp. Once a WhatsApp user shares a suspicious message with the tipline, PROTO’s verification centre will seek to respond and inform the user if the claim made in a message shared is verified or not, reports PTI.
WhatsApp said Checkpoint Tipline has been launched in partnership with PROTO, an India-based media skilling startup. Tipline will create a database full of rumours and will study misinformation during elections for Checkpoint which is a research project commissioned and technically assisted by WhatsApp.
Checkpoint Tipline can review any form of content in text, picture or video formats and will cover five languages including English, Hindi, Malayalam, Telugu and Bengali. PROTO will also be working with organisations at the grassroots level to submit misinformation circulating across different regions in India during the election period.
In its statement on Tuesday, WhatsApp said Dig Deeper Media and Meedan – which have previously worked on misinformation-related projects around the world – are helping PROTO to develop the verification and research frameworks for India. Meedan has developed the technology to support the verification of rumours and will maintain the database of such content that has been processed.
PROTO founders Ritvvij Parrikh and Nasr ul Hadi said “The goal of this project is to study the misinformation phenomenon at scale natively in WhatsApp. As more data flows in, we will be able to identify the most susceptible or affected issues, locations, languages, regions, and more”.
Dig Deeper Media CEO, Fergus Bell also commented saying “The research from this initiative will help create a global benchmark for those wishing to tackle misinformation in their own markets”.