Facebook’s WhatsApp messaging platform published advertisements today in key Indian newspapers to combat the spread of misinformation.
India has witnessed several lynching cases triggered by fake messages circulated on WhatsApp. In the latest occurrence, five people were lynched by a mob in Maharashtra on the suspicion of being child kidnappers.
WhatsApp recently received a warning in an official letter from the Indian Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology over the rise of fake news and public incitement.
“Together we can fight false information,” read full-page advertisements in some top English language-newspapers, part of a series that will also feature in regional-language dailies.
It urged users to check information before sharing it and cautioned them about the spread of fake news.
“We are starting an education campaign in India on how to spot fake news and rumours,” a WhatsApp spokesman said in a statement.
“Our first step is placing newspaper advertisements in English and Hindi and several other languages. We will build on these efforts.”
During the week, it aims to publish similar advertisements in regional dailies across India, from the states of Gujarat, Maharashtra and Rajasthan in the west to the most populous state of Uttar Pradesh in the north, it added.