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WhatsApp: How to stop the spread of fake news

With the Covid-19 coronavirus pandemic raging around the world, the spread of fake news on WhatsApp has increased. Here's how to combat that.

  • Updated: April 27, 2020 6:01 PM IST

Fake news has been one of the most severe problems that instant messaging app WhatsApp has been facing. The Facebook owned company has tried several measures in the past to combat this problem. But malicious people keep finding ways to subvert these security factors. People who spread false and malicious information have been using this app effectively through the years. Also Read - Coronavirus effect: WhatsApp is pulling all the stops to fight fake news in India

With the Covid-19 coronavirus pandemic raging around the world, the spread of fake news on WhatsApp has increased. And WhatsApp on its part has started an active campaign to control the spread of fake news. It has teamed up with the Government of India as well as WHO in this attempt. But besides those users on their own end can also be vigilant and spot fake news on their own. Also Read - WhatsApp creates an information hub to fight coronavirus fake news; sets a $1 million grant

Here’s how to spot and stop spread of fake news on WhatsApp

1. Understand when a message is forwarded

Messages with the “Forwarded” label help you determine if your friend or relative wrote the message or if it originally came from someone else. When a message is forwarded from one user to another more than five times, it’s indicated with a double arrow icon. If you’re not sure who wrote the original message, double-check the facts with trusted news sources. Some frequently asked questions about forwarding messages are answered here, please read these articles. You can also take a look at this video.

2. Check photos and media carefully

Photos, audio recordings, and videos can be edited to mislead you. Look at trusted news sources to see if the story is being reported elsewhere.

3. Look out for messages that look different

Many messages or website links you receive containing hoaxes or fake news have spelling mistakes. Look for these signs so you can check if the information is accurate. WhatsApp has informed about hoax messages in this article.

4. Verify information yourself (and with other sources) before forwarding

Sometimes “forwarded” messages can seem helpful or even harmless especially if they come from family and friends, but no matter the situation, we must confirm the facts of the message before forwarding it ahead. You can verify the message by searching for facts online before sharing it with your contacts. If you’re still not sure if a message is true, check trusted news sites and ask fact-checkers.

If you receive a message that is fake, share the fact with the person who sent it to you. Request them to share only verified information. If a group or contact is constantly sending fake news, feel free to report them.

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  • Published Date: April 27, 2020 6:00 PM IST
  • Updated Date: April 27, 2020 6:01 PM IST

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