WhatsApp launches campaign in Pak to dispel fake news

WhatsApp launches campaign in Pak to dispel fake news

WhatsApp mobile messaging service (Photo by AFP)

Popular instant messenger service Whatsapp has launched a public awareness campaign in Pakistan to tackle the spread of false information ahead of the July 25 general elections in the country, according to a media report.

The Facebook-owned application has rolled out several easy tips to identify fake news, the Express Tribune reported today.

Asserting that fake news often goes viral, the Whatsapp media campaign stated that just because a message is shared multiple times, it does not mean that it is true.

The company asked people to look out for messages that appear different and hard to believe and also check photos in messages carefully.

"It’s usually a sign that something is wrong if there are spelling mistakes or unusual characters...Stories that are hard to believe are mostly untrue...Look at other news websites and apps to see if the story is being reported elsewhere," it said, adding that photos and videos can easily be edited to mislead people.

The campaign, ‘Together we can fight false information’, was recently advertised by the company in an English daily.

"To fight fake news we all need to work together – technology companies, the government and community groups. If you see something that’s not true, make people aware and help stop the spread,” it said.

Earlier this month, Facebook had disabled numerous accounts and pages of the Islamist Milli Muslim League (MML), the political outfit launched by Mumbai terror attack mastermind Hafiz Saeed-led Jamaat-ud-Dawa, to make sure that the social networking website supports positive discourse and prevents interference in the upcoming elections in Pakistan, India, Brazil, Mexico and other countries.

Facebook officials had also contacted the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) and offered help to local authorities to identify and remove fake pages of different political parties ahead of the polls.