Ahead of India’s next general election, WhatsApp is taking to primetime airwaves to curb misinformation on its platform. On December 3, the world’s largest messaging app, which has at least 200 million users in India, launched its first ever television campaign. The Facebook-owned company has produced three 60-second video ads focused on educating Indians about the dangers of fake news and spurious forwarded messages.
Fake news has become a life-and-death issue in India lately. Many incidents of violence have been allegedly linked to online rumours. For instance, in June, some attributed the killings of two men in India’s northeastern state of Assam, in part, to WhatsApp-based messages.
The platform has opted for these ad campaigns, besides other measures, to indicate its seriousness in curbing fake news. Currently, WhatsApp’s Youtube channel has the ads in Hindi and English, but a company press release says they will be made available in 10 languages.