WhatsApp chooses 20 teams to curb fake news globally along with India


Facebook-owned WhatsApp on Tuesday announced it has chosen 20 research teams globally – including specialists from India and people of Indian origin – who’ll work towards the way misinformation spreads and also what further steps the cellular messaging platform may take to suppress bogus information.

Shakuntala Banaji in London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE), Anushi Agrawal and Nihal Passanha from Bengaluru-based arts and media collective “Maraa” and Ramnath Bhat out of LSE have been chosen for the paper titled “WhatsApp Vigilantes? WhatsApp messages and mob violence in India”.

The study assesses the ways that WhatsApp consumers know and find answers to the spate of “WhatsApp lynchings” which has killed over 30 people up to now.

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The Indian government has also led WhatsApp to take necessary precautionary steps to avoid proliferation of imitation and, occasionally, motivated/sensational messages onto its own platform.

Some others chosen were Vineet Kumar from Ranchi-headquartered Cyber Peace Foundation (principal investigator), Amrita Choudhary, President of this Delhi-based non-profit Cyber Café Association of India (CCAOI) and Anand Raje from Cyber Peace Foundation.

They’ll function as a group on the newspaper titled “Digital literacy and effect of misinformation about emerging electronic societies”.

P.N. Vasanti out of Centre for Media Research in New Delhi will operate with Shyam Sundar, The Pennsylvania State University (Principal Investigator) to examine the role of articles modality in exposure to misinformation, below the subject titled “Seeing is Believing: Why Is Video Modality More Strong in Spreading Fake News?”

WhatsApp had issued a call for papers in July this year also received suggestions from over 600 research teams across the globe.

“All those 20 research teams will get around $50,000 (approximately Rs. 36,30,300) due to their job (for a total of $1 million),” WhatsApp stated in a statement.

Lipika Kamra in O.P. Jindal Global University and Philippa Williams in the Queen Mary University of London (Primary Investigator) will examine the role of WhatsApp in regular political discussions in India, in the context of India’s social networking ecosystem.

Based on Mrinalini Rao, lead writer in WhatsApp that the system cares deeply about the protection of its over 1.5 billion active users worldwide and more than 200 million consumers in India.

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“We love the chance to learn from these types of global specialists about how we could continue to help manage the effect of misinformation,” Rao said.

“These studies can help us build upon current developments we’ve made inside WhatsApp and encourage broad education efforts to keep people safe,” she added.

The receivers are from countries such as Brazil, India, Indonesia, Israel, Mexico, Netherlands, Nigeria, Singapore, Spain, the United Kingdom and US.

WhatsApp stated it’s hosting them in California this week so that they could hear from merchandise leaders concerning how it assembles its merchandise.

“Given the character of personal messaging – in which 90 percent of those messages delivered are between two individuals and group sizes are strictly limited – our focus stays on teaching and enabling users and tackling misuse,” stated the business.

WhatsApp recently employed a “forward tag” to notify users if they received a message which wasn’t initially composed by their friend or loved one. To handle abuse, WhatsApp has also specify a limit on the number of forward can be routed.

In India, WhatsApp has partnered with the Digital Empowerment Foundation to train community leaders in many countries about the best way best to tackle misinformation.

“We’re also running advertisements in many languages – in print, online, and on over 100 radio stations -amounting to the biggest public education effort on misinformation any place on the planet,” the firm noted.

Sayan Banerjee from University of Essex, Srinjoy Bose from University of New South Wales and also Robert A. Johns from University of Essex will examine “Misinformation in Diverse Societies, Political Behaviour & Good Governance”.

Santosh Vijaykumar in Northumbria University, Arun Nair in Health Systems Research India Initiative and Venkat Chilukuri, Srishti Institute of Art, Design and Technology are a part of this group which will study “Misinformation Vulnerabilities one of Elderly through Disease Outbreaks”.


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