WhatsApp determined to tackle fake news


WhatsApp is now labelling its forwarded messages, in a move that the company hopes will curb some of the app’s viral misinformation problems. In a blog post published by the social messaging app, WhatsApp announced the new label, which will indicate when a message has been forwarded to someone from another user. The label will apply to text, image, video and audio messages.

“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,” the blogs stated.

This update is the latest in the myriad steps WhatsApp has taken to address its fake news problem, including offering cash rewards for researchers studying misinformation spread through the app, and wrangling local law enforcement and fact-checking organisations to fight the fake news propagated through the app.

Facebook working on feature to identify suspicious accounts

Facebook is currently testing a new feature for Messenger that would identify suspicious accounts sending unwarranted direct messages, letting users know the account’s country of origin by phone number and whether it was recently created. Facebook has confirmed that it is indeed testing the feature, but spokesperson Dalya Browne said it was a “small test” at the moment.

Though the feature looks to be geared toward fighting scams and unsolicited messages from accounts using fake or misleading identities, there is an element of Facebook fighting growing misinformation and bots from countries like Russia.

In addition to those efforts, Facebook also launched a new literacy campaign in May alongside a massive print advertising campaign to help educate both the general public and its active user base about misinformation and how to spot and stop the spread of fake news.