WhatsApp on Tuesday launched a fact-checking service in India to combat fake news and rumors ahead of the Lok Sabha elections. The fact-checking service consists of a phone number (+91-9643-000-888) where users can send dubious messages if they think they might not be true or otherwise want them verified.
A total of five languages will be supported by Checkpoint Tipline — English, Hindi, Telugu, Bengali and Malayalam — and the service will support misinformation spread in the form of text, videos, and images.
“Launched by PROTO, an India-based media skilling startup, this tip line will help create a database of rumors to study misinformation during elections for Checkpoint – a research project commissioned and technically assisted by WhatsApp,” the company said in a statement.
Once a WhatsApp user shares a suspicious message with the tipline, PROTO’s verification center will seek to respond and inform the user if the claim made in a message shared is verified or not.
“The challenge of viral misinformation requires more collaborative efforts and cannot be solved by any one organization alone. This combined effort by WhatsApp and industry organizations will help contribute to the safety of the elections, by giving people means to know if the information is verified and deter people from sharing rumors that have no basis in fact,” WhatsApp said.