Education campaign started by Whatsapp to spot fake news and rumors is an uphill taskThe recent spate of mob lynching across different parts of the country is attributed to the widespread circulation of fake news through different social networking platforms. Our government asked Whatsapp to take immediate steps to stop the circulation of fake and irresponsible messages on their platform and from 10 July onwards Whatsapp rolled out a feature that will indicate whether a message you received is a forwarded one or the sender is the creator of that message. However, for this new feature you need to have the latest version of Whatsapp installed on your mobile phone. In a statement, a spokesperson of Whatsapp said they are starting an education campaign in India to spot fake news and rumors and placed newspaper advertisements in this regard.
Educating Indians to spot rumors is an uphill task and most of the circulation is done out of compulsion. Many people are there who even do not read the messages and forward it to others just because they received it. The question is how to stop this compulsive behavior.
Few aspects need consideration to seriously tackle the issue. If you notice a group of people in any kind of assembly, be it a party, social function or even in public transport you will find a good number of them are busy on their mobile phones. Mobile phones are necessary nowadays for their functionalities but does it mean you have to use it all the time? Isn't it a compulsiveness to use the device all the time since you have it? The psychological aspect has to be looked into for changing this attitude.
Another one is the daily data usage limits. Think of the monthly data limits we used to get before arrival of Jio. In most of the cases it was 1 GB, 1.5 GB or 3 GB per month. But now – it's 1.5 GB per day. Just imagine the amount; it's so huge for a mobile user, that if you properly use the data services you cannot consume the whole amount in a day. There is a tendency among lot of people to consume everything they are getting within the stipulated time. Can the excess data limit per day be a cause of widespread circulation of fake messages and rumors?