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Fake news chaos: WhatsApp rolls out feature to highlight forward messages

By Deepika
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    New Delhi, July 11: To tackle the spread of misinformation, WhatsApp messaging on Tuesday launched a new feature where they will label forwarded messages to dispel fake news woes.

    Representational Image

    "Starting today, WhatsApp will indicate which messages you receive have been forwarded to you. This extra context will help make one-on-one and group chats easier to follow. It also helps you determine if your friend or relative wrote the message they sent or if it originally came from someone else," WhatsApp said in a global statement.

    Users will need to have the latest supported version of WhatsApp on their phone to see the new forwarded label, the company explained.

    The new feature

    "We encourage you to think before sharing messages that were forwarded. As a reminder, you can report spam or block a contact in one tap and can always reach out to WhatsApp directly for help," WhatsApp said.

    The latest campaign by WhatsApp also outlines ways to spot false information including identifying forwarded messages, and coaxing users to "double check" on information using multiple sources to establish authenticity of a news or a photograph.

    The campaign also nudged users to question information that is meant to instil anger or fear and to think twice before sharing such messages.

    Last week, IT Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad had demanded greater accountability from WhatsApp, saying that the government will not tolerate any misuse of the platform to spread fake messages.

    In response, WhatsApp had informed the government that fake news, misinformation and hoaxes can be checked by the government, civil society and technology companies "working together".

    Reiterating the message today in its advocacy campaign, WhatsApp said: "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."

    Rumours on WhatsApp have fuelled a spate of incidents involving mob fury, a recent one being lynching of five men on the suspicion of being child-lifters in Maharashtra's Rainpada village of Dhule district.

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