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The Story Behind WhatsApp Stirring Campaign To Stop Fake News And Rumours In India

After the government's timely reprimand to the ridiculously popular messaging app famous for reducing the barrier of distance between people, making business communication and note sharing easier — all with high privacy; and equally infamous for propagating provocative messages, fake news and rumours which, on several occasions, have resulted in the creation of a violent and murderous mob even costing lives of many, and then showing middle finger to the law enforcement bodies along with the judiciary, the app now appears to be taking things a little more seriously.

The government, on last year, had slapped the Facebook-owned WhatsApp with legal notices with a clear warning that it would consider the messaging platform as an abettor in the spread of toxic rumours resulting in disharmony among citizens with law and order problems for the state, and will have to face the legal consequences in failing to put adequate checks for the same.

As the world's largest democracy will head for the polls this year, Whatsapp is not taking the government's warning lightly. It has unleashed a stirring campaign to educate and inform the users about the dangers of unverified fake news and rumours which they forward to one other like prasadam (offerings to the God).

In a clichéd response, the company said: "WhatsApp cares deeply about the safety of users in India and is committed to help addressing the challenge of misinformation in India by empowering users with new controls and working with local partners to step up education on this challenge,"

But, it also opened up about further plans saying that it has conducted extensive research with users in India and developed three ad films that are based on a real user's experience. In each film, the protagonist teaches someone important in their lives to not spread rumours and to use WhatsApp controls such as the ability to leave groups that could be propagating misinformation and how to block unknown senders. Gita, Kavya and Rajat are the protagonists WhatsApp was talking about who use the app in a constructive way. Their story proceeds in this way...

Gita is a WhatsApp recipe queen who loves trying out new recipes, and with that, a little showoff too. She shares her delicious creations with her friends and family members who, in turn, reciprocate her with compliments and wishes. One day Gita found something kaala in daal when she received some provocative rumours in her WhatsApp inbox, the message also has a written message urging people to forward it to others. Gita did share that message, but only with her amma and then she politely blocked the sender. After that, she tried another exotic recipe and shared it with others because Gita believes in sharing joy, not rumours.

Kavya lives away from her family yet she resides close to their heart. She never forgets important days of her loved ones, be it their birthdays, anniversary or exams. She even reminds her grandparents their medicines. She celebrates festivals with them and makes them LOL. But today, Kavya is quite serious as her phuphaji has sent an absurd message in the family group. She quickly talked to her phuphaji over phone and asked if there is any proof of what he just sent? Then Kavya informed him with pyar that such messages can even ignite a riot. Phuphaji at once exited the group. And then the family partied, because it was dadaji’s birthday!

Rajat became a hero by creating a WhatsApp group. He, however, claims to be ‘always popular’. Whether it’s timetable changes, celebration over class-cancellation, rehearsals update, sharing notes, farewells or crying foul over surprise tests. He gets everything done on his WhatsApp group. Rajat is admin but never try to show himself as the one. Except for today. A fellow member has sent some flammable messages in the name of news. He has to act like an admin today. So Rajat asked the sender Dhruv, his fellow batchmate, if what he sent was true. After which he educates Dhruv that such messages could turn people against each other and warned him to not do such things another time, otherwise, he’ll have to remove him from the group. And to avoid their friendship getting sour and for evading bad mood, both went to eat dosa. And the group rejoiced with the college fest!

*Don't forget to forward this post to your friends and the people you care for. It's not fake, I can guarantee it!


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