WhatsApp to launch a TV campaign to fight against fake news in India

The major aim of the ads would be to prepare a solid ground for the 2019 Lok Sabha polls and avoid untoward incidents caused by fake news


After facing criticism for misuse of its platform, WhatsApp launched its first-ever TV campaign in India on Monday. The TV campaign was launched as an attempt to address the challenge of fake news and malicious rumours.

Earlier, the messaging app had launched two phases of a radio campaign to build awareness amongst its users. The first phase began on August 29 with ads across 46 radio stations of All India Radio (AIR) in states such as Bihar, Jharkhand, Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, Rajasthan, and Uttar Pradesh.

Whereas the second phase kicked off on September 5 with ads across 83 AIR radio stations in Assam, Tripura, West Bengal, Gujarat, Karnataka, Maharashtra, Andhra Pradesh, and Telangana, Orissa and Tamil Nadu.

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WhatsApp will now work with filmmaker Shirsha Guha Thakurta to convey real-life scenarios about dangerous rumours and its impacts. The messaging app plans on making three 60 second films to spread the message amongst its users.

The films will be made available in nine languages across TV, Facebook, and YouTube, just prior to the Assembly elections in Rajasthan and Telangana. The major aim of the ads would be to prepare a solid ground for the 2019 Lok Sabha polls.

We're humbled by the impact that WhatsApp had on people's ability to freely connect with their loved ones. We recognise at the same time connecting people can also lead to the spread of misinformation, which has to be confronted," said Bosco Zubiaga, who led the production of these films for WhatsApp.

Earlier this year, WhatsApp CEO Chris Daniels had met with Union IT Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad who had asked Daniels to take suitable steps and comply with the law.

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