Fake, no more: WhatsApp launches tip line to submit rumours, uncertain info during LS polls

Users can submit inputs to WhatsApp's Checkpoint Tipline on +91-9643-000-888.

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Users can also submit misinformation or rumours they receive to WhatsApp's Checkpoint Tipline.
NEW DELHI: WhatsApp Tuesday unveiled its 'Checkpoint Tipline', where people can check the authenticity of information received as the messaging giant looks to crack down on fake news ahead of the general election in the country.

"Launched by PROTO, an India-based media skilling startup, this tipline will help create a database of rumours to study misinformation during elections for Checkpoint - a research project commissioned and technically assisted by WhatsApp," the Facebook-owned company said in a statement.

It added that starting Tuesday, people in India can submit misinformation or rumours they receive to the Checkpoint Tipline on WhatsApp (+91-9643-000-888).


Once a WhatsApp user shares a suspicious message with the tipline, PROTO's verification centre will seek to respond and inform the user if the claim made in message shared is verified or not.

"The response will indicate if information is classified as true, false, misleading, disputed or out of scope and include any other related information that is available," the statement said.


This centre is equipped to review content in the form of pictures, video links or text and will cover English and four regional languages - Hindi, Telugu, Bengali and Malayalam.

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PROTO will also look at working with organisations at grassroot level to submit misinformation circulating across different regions in India during the election period.

Facebook, which counts India as one of its largest markets with over 200 million users, had faced flak from the Indian government after a series of mob-lynching incidents, triggered by rumours circulating on WhatsApp, claimed lives last year.

Under pressure to stop rumours and fake news, WhatsApp had last year restricted forwarding messages to five chats at once. It has also been putting out advertisements in newspapers and running television and radio campaigns offering tips to users on how to spot misinformation.

From WhatsApp To YouTube, Tech Updates That Will Impact Your Digital Life
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Everyone knows about the big product launches and global news. However, there are a number of small but significant updates that slip under the radar. Here's a round-up of some of the announcements that will possibly have an impact on your digital life.

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Corning just announced the latest version called Gorilla Glass 6 which they claim can survive multiple drops without breaking. They also say it is twice as strong as Gorilla Glass 5 with enhanced scratch resistance to boot. It will not exactly be shatterproof but you can expect your smartphone to be able to withstand a few drops before the glass breaks. The glass is already in production so you can expect premium devices to get this added protection within the next few months.

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With ensuing general elections, the Indian government had warned social media platforms of strong action if any attempt was made to influence the country's electoral process through undesirable means.

Interestingly, the Indian government — through proposed changes in IT rules — is seeking to make social media platforms more accountable by mandating them to introduce tools that can identify and disable "unlawful content".
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One of the amendments being mulled in the IT intermediary rules (meant for online and social media platforms) will require them to enable tracing out of such originators of information as needed by government agencies that are legally authorised.

However, WhatsApp has so far resisted the government's demand for identifying message originators, arguing that such a move would undermine the end-to-end encryption and the private nature of the platform, creating potential for serious misuse.

In its statement on Tuesday, WhatsApp said Dig Deeper Media and Meedan - which have previously worked on misinformation-related projects around the world - are helping PROTO to develop the verification and research frameworks for India.

Meedan has developed the technology to support the verification of rumours and will maintain the database of such content that have been processed.

To do so, they have expanded their check platform (developed for recent elections in Mexico and France) and integrated it with the WhatsApp Business API, to receive and respond to messages at scale.

"The goal of this project is to study the misinformation phenomenon at scale — natively in WhatsApp. As more data flows in, we will be able to identify the most susceptible or affected issues, locations, languages, regions, and more," PROTO founders Ritvvij Parrikh and Nasr ul Hadi said.

The verification reports PROTO sends back will encourage grassroots-level "listening posts" to send more signals for analysis, they added.

Following the project, PROTO also plans to submit learnings to the International Center for Journalists to help other organisations learn from the design and operations of this project.

"The research from this initiative will help create a global benchmarks for those wishing to tackle misinformation in their own markets," Fergus Bell, founder and CEO, Dig Deeper Media, said.
Poll-Pourri: Sunny Deol, Urmila & Other Stars Who've Joined Politics
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It's counting day today and all eyes are on the political scoreboard. From seasoned to the newbies, a bunch of stars are trying their luck at the polls today. Actor-producer Sunny Deol, Urmila Matondkar and Gautam Gambhir are hoping to score on their debuts today.

Here are some film stars who have dabbled in politics over the years.

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Weeks before the 17th Lok Sabha elections kicked off, actress Urmila Matondkar shook hands with the Indian National Congress (INC). The 45-year-old actress was welcomed in the party by Congress chief Rahul Gandhi.

The 'Rangeela' actress, who is contesting from the Mumbai North constituency against BJP MP Gopal Shetty, is hoping to score a victory.

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Actress Poonam Sinha, wife of actor Shatrughan Sinha, became a part of the SP in April this year. The 69-year-old is trying her luck against BJP leader and Home Minister Rajnath Singh from Lucknow.

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Actress-turned-politician Jaya Prada's ongoing political career kicked off in 1994 when she joined the Telugu Desam Party (TDP). In 2004, the 57-year-old became a part of the Samajwadi Party (SP). However, in 2010, she was expelled due to anti-party activities.

In March this year, Prada joined BJP. She is set to take on her friend-turned-foe, SP's Azam Khan, from Rampur today.

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Singer Hans Raj Hans first stint with politics was in 2009 when he joined the Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD). He resigned from the party in 2014. Two years later, in 2016, he joined the Congress party. However, he did not feel welcome in the Rahul Gandhi-led party. In the same year, he switched to the BJP.

In the 17th Lok Sabha polls, the singer is competing against Congress's Udit Raj from North-west Delhi.

If he proves victorious today, he will be one of the leading Dalit faces from the party.

Singer Hans Raj Hans first stint with politics was in 2009 when he joined the Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD). He resigned from the party in 2014. Two years later, in 2016, he joined the Congress party. ..
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'Bhabiji Ghar Par Hai' actress Shilpa Shinde joined the Indian political scene this year. Before confirming the news, she had to face heavy trolling on social media.

Few weeks later, the 41-year-old confirmed that she was keen on contesting the elections on a Congress ticket from Mumbai.

The 'Bigg Boss 11' winner's fate in politics will be decided today.

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Bengali actress Mimi Chakraborty debuted in the Indian political scene this year. The 30-year-old contested elections from Jadavpur constituency on a Trinamool Congress ticket (TMC).

Today's results could either mark the beginning of her political career or put it to an end to it altogether.

Bengali actress Mimi Chakraborty debuted in the Indian political scene this year. The 30-year-old contested elections from Jadavpur constituency on a Trinamool Congress ticket (TMC). Today's res..
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Another popular star of Bengali cinema who walked into the political world is Nusrat Jahan.

The 28-year-old contested Lok Sabha elections from the Basirhat constituency in South Bengal.

Now, the results will tell if the actress is set to embark on a political career or not.

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Malayalam star Suresh Gopi has had a rather long political career starting from his college days itself.

The 60-year-old, who was an active member of the Communist Party of India (Marxist) (CPIM), was sworn as an MP for the Rajya Sabha in 2016. Later in the same year, Gopi joined the BJP.

This year, Gopi contested from Thrissur constituency. Today's poll results will tell what's next on the actor's to-do list.

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Actor, director and producer Prakash Raj stepped into the world of politics in 2017. The 54-year-old initiated a political movement with the hashtag #justasking after the assassination of journalist Gauri Lankesh.

This year, the 'Dabangg 2' actor contested as an independent candidate from Bengaluru central. He was pitted against Congress's Rizwan Arshad.


Going by the results, the actor is currently trailing in his constituency.

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