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WhatsApp's New Tip Line is a Testing Ground for Fighting Fake News on Encrypted Messaging

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At an event in India to raise awareness of fake news, an attendee holds a mobile phone displaying a fake message shared on Facebook Inc.'s WhatsApp messaging service.

WhatsApp's new tip line for misinformation in India could serve as an example of how parent company Facebook will try to address fake news.

Credit: Dhiraj Singh/Bloomberg

WhatsApp's new tip line for misinformation in India could be a precursor for how parent company Facebook tries to address fake news as it reorients its business toward encrypted messaging.

The tip line, which allows people to forward suspect messages to an automated account, is among the first public signs Facebook is developing new misinformation-canceling techniques after its promise to encrypt messages across its platforms raised concerns about its ability to police harmful content.

The decision to test this new strategy on WhatsApp reveals how the company is looking outside its traditional playbook, which relies heavily on algorithms and human moderators to analyze news on open forums.

However, experts are skeptical that a tip line will be effective, as they raise concerns about the company's ability to respond to reports it receives at a mass scale.

WhatsApp partnered with the India-based startup Proto to create the system, in which an automated account will let users know whether their flagged message is verified, unverified, or "out of scope."

From The Washington Post
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