WhatsApp will be expanding its radio campaign to build awareness about fake news to 10 more states, including Maharashtra, Andhra Pradesh and West Bengal. The first phase of the campaign included seven states including Bihar, Jharkhand, Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, Rajasthan and Uttar Pradesh. The second phase will start today with radio ads across 83 radio stations of All India Radio.
WhatsApp has kicked off this campaign after it faced a lot of criticism over the fake news that spread on its platform that drove mob lynchings in some states. To solve this issue, the company had also restricted the number of forwards and introduced a forward label to help users identify such messaged. It is also setting up a corporate entity in India. The radio campaign which started on 29 August which was only in Hindi will now run in eight regional languages also - Assamese, Bengali, Gujarati, Kannada, Marathi, Telugu, Oriya and Tamil and for a 15-day duration.
The aim of the campaign is it to help users understand how to spot fake news before they forward the same to others. It will also tell them about the consequences of spreading misinformation and inflammatory content. The Indian government has been strict about the spread of misinformation prevalent on social media platforms like Facebook, Twitter, and WhatsApp. It has warned WhatsApp that it will face legal consequences if it does not take proper actions.
When WhatsApp's head Chris Daniels met IT minister Ravi Shankar Prasad, the company was asked to trace the origin of messages to identify culprits. However, the company denied to do that citing it will affect user's privacy but it has followed the other demands of the Indian government.