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WhatsApp Launches Chatbot to Combat Fake News in India: What You Need to Know

Stay Informed and Stay Safe: WhatsApp's New Misinformation Combat Alliance.

WhatsApp knows fake news spreads like wildfire in India, so it’s trying something new to tackle the issue. The messaging app is launching a little helpline chatbot to warn folks about deepfakes and other bogus info floating around.

This “Misinformation Combat Alliance” bot launches in March and will dish out alerts in English, Hindi and other regional languages about sketchy viral content on WhatsApp. It’s supposed to inform people so they don’t get duped by whatever weird deepfaked videos or fake news their auntie forwarded them.

WhatsApp is crazy popular in India so stuff goes viral at lightning speed on there. And with elections coming up, Meta really doesn’t want their app becoming a hotbed of misinformation that pisses off the government.

They already limited forwarding messages to only 5 people in India to reduce the whole viral factor. But even then fake news spreads rapidly, getting tons of views and causing chaos before fact-checkers can debunk it.

So that’s where this little helpline bot comes in. It uses WhatsApp’s army of fact-checking partners to rapidly identify bogus trending content and then warns users directly about what to watch out for.

It’s basically an early warning system for every fake video or shady news link that starts blowing up on Indian WhatsApp. Then people know not to believe or forward any of it before it spirals out of control.

Pretty smart move honestly. Chatbots are getting more advanced at delivering helpful info, and putting one on the platform itself allows WhatsApp to be proactive against misinformation campaigns rather than just playing defense.

We’ll have to see if it’s actually effective when misinfo or creepy deepfakes start spreading. But props to WhatsApp for trying something beyond just limiting forwards to protect Indian users. Maybe other social platforms need an in-app helpline bot too considering all the wacky conspiracy theories floating around these days!